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A total of 2,662 samples, collected from March to September 2009 in Switzerland, were tested for the presence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The collection comprised nasal swabs from 148 pig farmers, 133 veterinarians, 179 slaughterhouse employees, 800 pigs, 300 calves, 400 cattle, 100 pooled neck skin swabs from chicken carcasses, and 460 food samples of animal origin. Moreover, 142 S. aureus strains, isolated from bovine mastitis milk, were included in the study. Twenty samples (<1%; four veterinarians, 10 pigs, three calves, one young bull, and two mastitis milk samples) tested positive for MRSA. Genotyping of the MRSA strains was performed by multilocus sequence typing, spa- and SCCmec-typing, and revealed ST398 (n=18), ST8 (n=1), ST 1 (n=1), spa types t011 (n=7), t034 (n=11), t064 (n=1), t127 (n=1), and SCCmec types IV (n=4) and V (n=16). The 20 MRSA strains were subjected to antibiotic susceptibility testing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis using the restriction enzyme EagI. Supplementary PCR reactions were performed to investigate the presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin and staphylococcal enterotoxins A to D.


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