Objective – To familiarize the reader with the epidemiology, diagnosis, and infectious and zoonotic potential of methicillin-resistant staphylococci.
Data sources – Original research publications, scientific reviews and abstracts, case reports, and conference proceedings.
Human Data Synthesis – Staphylococcus aureus is a common human commensal organism; acquisition of genes encoding an altered penicillin-binding protein confers resistance to β-lactam antimicrobial drugs. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are often resistant to non–β-lactam antimicrobial drugs as well. Originally described as an important cause of nosocomial infection, MRSA colonization and infection are now often identified in humans outside healthcare settings. Like other S. aureus, MRSA may be present without clinical illness. However, when they do cause infection the consequences can be extremely serious.
Veterinary Data Synthesis – The major domestic animal species, including pets and livestock, may become contaminated, colonized, or infected with methicillin-resistant staphylococci, including MRSA. Dogs and cats are more likely to be colonized/infected with Staphylococcus pseudintermedius than S. aureus, but this pathogen can acquire genes encoding methicillin resistance (ie, MRSP). Diagnosis of MRSA or MRSP has implications not only for treatment of infected animals, but for potential zoonotic transmission.
Conclusions – MRSA infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Animals may be contaminated, colonized, or infected with MRSA, with implications for the animal's health and as a potential reservoir for human infection. Staphylococci other than S. aureus may also acquire genes for methicillin resistance, and these species can also result in animal and occasionally human morbidity or mortality.