Objectives To assess livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) carriage among workers in pig slaughterhouses and assess associated risk factors, including occupational exposure to LA-MRSA. Methods A cross-sectional study in three Dutch pig slaughterhouses was undertaken. Nasal swabs of participants were taken. Nasal swabs and surface wipes, air and glove samples were screened for presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA was quantitatively determined on gloves and in air samples by culturing and real-time PCR. Results 11 of 341 (3.2%) participants were identified as nasal MRSA carriers. MRSA-positive workers were predominantly found at the start of the slaughter process. Major risk factors for carriage were working in the lairage and working in the scalding and dehairing area. Most nasal isolates (73%) belonged to the LA-MRSA clone ST398. MRSA ST398-positive environmental samples were found throughout the slaughter process. A clear decrease was seen along the slaughterline in the number of MRSA-positive samples and in the MRSA amount per sample. Conclusions This study showed that working in the lairage area or scalding and dehairing area were the major risk factors for MRSA carriage in pig slaughterhouse workers, while the overall prevalence of MRSA carriage is low. Occupational exposure to MRSA decreased along the slaughterline, and the risk of carriage showed a parallel decrease.
- resistant staphylococcus-aureus
- time pcr assay
- high prevalence