Quantification of transmission of livestock-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in pigs

Els M Broens, Elisabeth A M Graat, Arjen W van de Giessen, Marian J Broekhuizen-Stins, Mart C M de Jong

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Antimicrobial resistance in pigs becomes a public health issue when resistant organisms transfer from pigs to humans. Pigs are a large reservoir for livestock-associated (LA-)MRSA and people in contact with pigs are at risk for infection with LA-MRSA. Transmission and persistence of LA-MRSA within a pig population contributes to the maintenance of this zoonotic reservoir. Current knowledge on colonization and transmission of LA-MRSA in pigs is limited and mainly based on observational field surveys. Two experiments were performed to colonize pigs and quantify transmission of LA-MRSA between pigs. In the first experiment, colonization of six-week old piglets failed after intranasal inoculation, confirming the complexity of MRSA-colonization. In the second experiment, naive pigs got colonized after exposure to orally inoculated pigs. Subsequently, these contact-infected pigs transmitted MRSA to a new group of naive pigs. The reproduction ratio, R(0), was estimated with a SIS-model to quantify transmission between the first and second contact pigs as this resembles more the natural transmission. Two scenarios were evaluated, with different assumptions regarding infection status of individual pigs. R(0) varied between 3.7 and 4.3 and was significantly above 1, indicating a high probability of persistence of LA-MRSA, even without antimicrobial use.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)381-388
    Number of pages8
    JournalVeterinary Microbiology
    Issue number2-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Methicillin resistant
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Pigs
    • Transmission
    • Colonization
    • Reproduction ratio
    • MRSA


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