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Persistent carriage of MRSA in pig farmers

Introduction / objectives

Livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a known and prevalent pathogen related to livestock farming. Little is known about the dynamics of carriage over time in pig farmers.


In this prospective cohort study, pig farmers and their employees from 50 pig farms in The Netherlands were tested for MRSA presence in nose and throat at 5 time points in 8 months. Questionnaires were taken as well. Persistent carriers were defined as persons with 100% of nasal samples positive for MRSA. Multilevel multivariate regression analysis was performed in SAS. This is a preliminary analysis as the collection of data is still ongoing.


In total, 130 pig farmers and employees entered the study (101 males, 78%). Eighty of them (62%) were MRSA nasal carriers at the start of the study and 49 (38%) were persistent carriers. Presence of MRSA in throat samples at the start of the study (OR=6.1, 95% CI 1.6-23.6), giving birth assistance to sows (OR=8.1, 95% CI 1.9-35.3), and the presence of goats on the farm (OR=6.0, 95% CI 1.0-35.7) were significantly associated with persistent carriage. Amount of working hours per week did improve the model fit, but was not a significant factor (OR=1.0, p=0.18).


The vast majority of persons working with pigs on a daily base is carrier of MRSA and almost 40% are persistent carriers. Throat carriage and specific tasks or farm characteristics were determinants of persistent carriage.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Cleef, B., Benthem, B., Teuwen, R. et al. Persistent carriage of MRSA in pig farmers. BMC Proc 5 (Suppl 6), P167 (2011).

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