Previous research on Staphylococcus aureus in pigs focused on livestock-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and had a qualitative cross-sectional design. This study aimed to elucidate the frequency, load, and stability of S. aureus nasal carriage in pigs over time and investigated possible associations between carriage and immune response. Nasal swabs were collected three times weekly from 480 tagged adult pigs in 20 Danish production farms. S. aureus and MRSA were quantified on selective media by the most-probable-number method. The levels of IgG against 10 S. aureus antigens in serum were quantified in selected pigs by a Luminex assay. All the farms were positive for S. aureus and 15 for MRSA, leading to overall prevalences of persistent and intermittent carriers and noncarriers of 24, 52, and 23%, respectively. Carriage frequency and nasal loads were significantly higher on MRSA-positive farms. Logistic-regression modeling revealed the presence of individual pigs characterized by high nasal loads (≥ 10,000 CFU per swab) and stable carriage regardless of farm-and pen-associated factors. On the other hand, the humoral response was strongly influenced by these environmental factors. The existence of a minority of shedders contributing to maintenance of S. aureus within farms opens up new perspectives on the control of MRSA in pig farming.

dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.03392-14, hdl.handle.net/1765/88491
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Espinosa-Gongora, C, Dahl, J, Elvstrøm, A, van Wamel, W.J.B, & Guardabassi, L. (2015). Individual predisposition to Staphylococcus aureus colonization in pigs on the basis of quantification, carriage dynamics, and serological profiles. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81(4), 1251–1256. doi:10.1128/AEM.03392-14