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Prevalence of livestock associated MRSA in blood isolates

Introduction / objectives

In the Netherlands there is an extensive reservoir of livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) in pigs and calves. The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of LA-MRSA in human blood isolates.


This study was based on data from the national antibiotic resistance surveillance (ISIS-AR) in The Netherlands. The 22 participating laboratories cover approximately 50% of all hospital beds. Data from 2008 through 2010 on S. aureus (SA) isolates were evaluated for methicillin resistance and spa-type, to identify LA-MRSA strains. Only the first isolate per patient was included. For this preliminary examination, we used tetracycline resistance as an indicator for LA-MRSA. In further analysis presented at the congress, spa-types will be included.


The proportion of MRSA of all episodes of SA bacteremia was 1.5% (51/3355). Of the MRSA isolates with an antibiotic resistance profile, 17% were tetracycline resistant (8/48, 95%CI 9-30%). The proportion of tetracycline resistance in MRSA isolates from other sources was 41% (872/2124, 95%CI 39-43%, chi-square blood vs non-blood p<0.0001). Extrapolation results in an average annual incidence of 5.3 patients with LA-MRSA bacteremia in The Netherlands.


The current annual incidence of LA-MRSA bacteremia is low. Tetracycline resistant MRSA is significantly less prevalent in MRSA blood isolates compared to non-blood isolates. This can be the result of an excessive screening regime resulting in overrepresentation in non-invasive isolates or a decreased virulence of the livestock associated strains.

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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., Monen, J. et al. Prevalence of livestock associated MRSA in blood isolates. BMC Proc 5 (Suppl 6), P170 (2011).

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