Occurrence and characteristics of methicillin-resistant and -susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Isolated from the beef production chain in Korea
Received: Nov 12, 2019 ; Revised: Jan 29, 2020 ; Accepted: Mar 6, 2020
Published Online: Mar 12, 2020
The emergence and persistence of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in livestock animals have been reported as a potential risk factor for transmission to humans. In this study, we investigated the nationwide prevalence and characteristics of MRSA and MSSA in the Korean beef production system, including retail markets, slaughterhouses and cattle farms. From a total of 1,285 samples, only 5 MRSA strains were isolated: from a farmer (1 ST72 MRSA), a carcass sample from a slaughterhouse (1 ST72 MRSA), and beef cattle (3 ST5 MRSA). In addition, 11 MSSA strains were isolated from beef cattle (n = 3), humans (1 farmer, 1 slaughterhouse worker, and 4 retail market workers), and carcass samples (n = 1) and slaughterhouse environment (n = 1). Although the prevalence of MRSA and MSSA in beef cattle was much lower than that reported in pigs, 5/5 MRSA and 2/11 MSSA strains displayed multiple drug resistance (MDR) phenotypes. Unlike the swine-associated MRSA, no correlation was found between tetracycline/zinc resistance and MDR phenotype. However, MRSA strains had an identical set of staphylococcal enterotoxins and exhibited enhanced levels of resistance to antimicrobial peptides (PMAP-36 and LL-37) compared to the MSSA strains. In conclusion, continued and systemic surveillance of livestock, meat products, and humans in close contact with livestock/meat products is necessary to prevent the transmission of MRSA and MSSA to humans.