CategoryPre-Harvest Pork Safety
Date Full Report Received12/01/2012
Date Abstract Report Received12/01/2012
Funded ByNational Pork Board
Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) has emerged in the past 10 years as an important public health concern. Since first recognition in Europe, LA-MRSA has been identified in pigs in various countries on at least 4 continents, and significant concern has been raised about the potential impacts on pig farmers and veterinarians, rural residents and the broader population. Once on a farm, high rates of MRSA carriage can be encountered in pigs, but it is rarely an ‘all-or-nothing’ event, with MRSA-negative pigs being found on farms with high MRSA carriage rates. This raises questions about why some pigs are colonized while other remain MRSA negative. A variety of factors may be involved, with one possibility being differences in the nasal bacterial population (microbiota) and its overall genetic composition (microbiome). While not adequately studied, it has been assumed that the pig has a complex and abundant bacterial population in its nasal passages, and that may play a critical role in determining the fate of bacteria to which it becomes exposed. The objective of this study was to describe the nasal microbiome of slaughter-age pigs and to evaluate the influence of the microbiome on MRSA colonization.
Nasal swabs were collected from farm- and age-matched pigs. Swabs were screened for MRSA, and positive and negative pigs were selected for microbiome study using a 2nd swab that was collected. Using molecular methods, the nasal bacterial microbiome was described and the two groups were compared. To further evaluate the influence of management on the nasal microbiome, swabs were collected from a set of age-matched pigs on a farm that fed a liquid diet.
Researcher contact information: J Scott Weese, firstname.lastname@example.org