Occurrence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in rats living on pig farms

A W van de Giessen, M G van Santen-Verheuvel, P D Hengeveld, T Bosch, E M Broens, C B E M Reusken

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    In The Netherlands, MRSA ST398 has emerged in hospitals and human carriers have been associated with exposure to pigs and cattle. High prevalences of MRSA ST398 in pigs and pig farmers have been determined and the transmission routes of MRSA on pig farms need to be elucidated. In the south of the Netherlands, in recent years, the black rat (Rattus rattus) has emerged as a prominent rodent on livestock farms. From March till May 2008, a survey on MRSA in rats living on livestock farms in the south of The Netherlands and the north of Belgium was conducted. In total, 40 black rats (R. rattus) and 3 brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) were collected on 12 farms including five pig farms, five poultry farms, one mixed pig and veal farm and one goat farm. MRSA ST398 was detected in black rats captured at two of the five pig farms as well as in a black rat living on the mixed pig and veal farm. From one black rat captured at another pig farm MRSA ST 97 was isolated. Considering the behaviour of rats on livestock farms, it is concluded that rats might play a role in the spread and persistence of MRSA on pig farms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)270-3
    Number of pages4
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Issue number2-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Agriculture
    • Animals
    • Cattle
    • Cattle Diseases
    • Humans
    • Methicillin Resistance
    • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
    • Netherlands
    • Rats
    • Rodent Diseases
    • Staphylococcal Infections
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Swine
    • Swine Diseases


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