Detection of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among swine workers in Romania

Eileen Huang, Anca E. Gurzau, Blake M. Hanson, Ashley E. Kates, Tara C. Smith, Melinda M. Pettigrew, Marina Spinu, Peter M. Rabinowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a devastating pathogen that is associated with high morbidity and mortality worldwide. Livestock are a well-known reservoir for this pathogen, which poses substantial health risks for livestock workers. Little is known about the epidemiology of livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA) among livestock workers in Eastern Europe. Methods: To study the epidemiology of LA-MRSA among swine workers in Romania, we collected and characterized nasal and oropharygneal samples from swine workers on commercial pig farms. A survey that included questions about work-related tasks, biosafety practices, contact with animals, and health status was used to assess the risk factors that were potentially associated with LA-MRSA colonization. Results: The prevalence of MRSA colonization among swine workers was 6.8%. Two LA-MRSA strains with the spa types t034 and t011 and one likely community-associated MRSA strain with the spa type t321 were isolated from workers on five farms. Interestingly, all MRSA carriers worked on farms that imported animals from other production facilities. Conclusion: This is the first study to confirm the presence of LA-MRSA among swine workers in Romania and suggests the need to minimize the risk of LA-MRSA-related infections in swine workers and their community contacts. The findings also suggest a link between the commercial movement of swine and the introduction of LA-MRSA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-332
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Infection and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Occupational exposure
  • Swine
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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