Faires MC, Tater KC, Weese JS: An investigation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization in people and pets in the same household with an infected person or infected pet, J Am Vet Med Assoc 235:540, 2009.
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an important pathogen that has been identified in humans, as well as dogs and cats. MRSA from humans may cause infections in pets, and pets may be sources of MRSA for human infection. In order to lessen the risk of transmission of MRSA between humans and pets, a better understanding of the role, if any, of pet-to-human transmission is needed. This report describes an investigation of the prevalence of MRSA in people and their pets within the same household in which MRSA infection was known to exist, and to compare the isolates identified within a household. Households in which MRSA infection had been identified in a pet within the past month (part 1), as well as households in which one or more persons had experienced >1 MRSA infection within the past year (part 2) were included. Nasal specimens from humans and nasal and rectal swabs from pets were collected and cultured for MRSA. In households with MRSA, both humans and pets, including cats, were found to be infected, and the isolates were indistinguishable whether from humans or pets. This indicated that cross-species infection could occur, though the direction (human to pets or vice versa) was not known. The authors speculate that humans were the most likely source for the pets, rather than the reverse as the isolates were related to community-associated human strains. In addition, the affected pets were not in contact with other animals, and thus likely contracted the MRSA from their human owners. [MK]
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