MRSA in Pigs and the Environment as a Risk for Employees in Pig-Dense Areas of Sri Lanka

Ruwani S. Kalupahana, Birgitta Duim*, Koen M. Verstappen, Chandika D. Gamage, Nilanthi Dissanayake, Lakmali Ranatunga, Haitske Graveland, Jaap A. Wagenaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) is widely spread in intensive farming systems and considered an occupational risk for humans. MRSA is a common nosocomial pathogen in Sri Lanka, but information about prevalence of MRSA in pig farming in Sri Lanka is scarce. Farming is largely a small-scale confined system, and antimicrobial use in these systems is poorly regulated with no veterinary oversight for use. This study identified on 100 pig farms a MRSA prevalence of 10%, with MRSA-positive samples in pigs, farm workers, and dust of 1.2% (6/493), 2.2% (5/228), and 0.8% (1/119), respectively. The genotypes of these strains were compared with 22 human MRSA strains from a hospital; identified in pig farms were CC1/ST1/t127, CC5/ST5/t002, CC6/ST6/t304, or t4403, singleton ST3841/t10744, of which CC1/ST1/t127 and CC/ST5/t002 were present both in isolates from pigs and humans, suggesting a human origin. LA-MRSA types associated with intensive farming (ST398, ST9) were not detected. The low MRSA prevalence at farm level (10% vs. up to 70% in intensive farming systems) might be due to the management of these farms—open air and low dust. We conclude that in Sri Lanka the occupational risk for MRSA acquisition of people working with pigs in the described management systems is negligible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2019


  • food chain
  • livestock
  • MRSA
  • pigs
  • pork
  • small-scale farming
  • Sri Lanka


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