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Keywords:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus;
  • bovine milk;
  • molecular epidemiology;
  • antimicrobial resistance mechanisms

Summary

The aim of this study was to identify methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains gathered from 2002 to 2006 from milk samples in Aydin region in Turkey. Among 93 S. aureus strains isolated from bovine milk with mastitis, 16 were resistant to methicillin. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains were studied further for their staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) types, pulsotypes, spa and MLST types, antimicrobial susceptibilities, mechanisms of resistance and presence of Panton–Valentine leucocidin (PVL) toxin gene. The MRSA strains were multi-drug resistant. The susceptibility rates to antimicrobials tested were 0%, 0%, 0%, 0%, 6.25%, 16.25% and 56.25% for erythromycin, clindamycin, chloramphenicol, gentamicin, tetracyclin, ciprofloxacin and vancomycin, respectively. All tetracycline and gentamicin resistant strains carried tet(M) and aac(6)-aph(2) gene, respectively. Among macrolide-resistant isolates, nine had erm(A), and seven had both erm(A) and erm(B) genes. The molecular characterization by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed presence of three pulsotypes with their variants. The pulsotype B strains were type IV with SCCmec typing, and representative of pulsotype B was t190 by spa typing and ST8 by MLST typing. The strains with pulsotype A and C were SCCmec III, and representative of these pulsotypes was t030 by spa typing. The MLST type of pulsotype A was ST239 and pulsotype C was one allele variant of ST239. None of the isolates harboured the PVL gene. Presence of hospital-related MRSA strains may indicate transmission of these strains between human and animals. In case of clonal spread beside the infected animals’ treatment of MRSA carrier, farm workers should also be considered. Hygienic measures and rational antibiotic use may avoid resistance selection, clonal dissemination of resistant strains and decrease losses because of mastitis in dairy herds.