A MRSA strain found in UK hospitals may be linked to a bacteria found in livestock, according to recently published data.
Melissa Ward, PhD, of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and colleagues studied the evolution of MRSA strain CC398 using new genetic analysis techniques to map traits onto phylogenies to quantify transitions between host species. They then compared the genetic code of the UK strain to those of human and livestock around the world.
They found that the original CC398 strain entered the UK multiple times since the mid-1940s, but the original source is not known. Since then, distinct clades of the strain developed in humans and livestock.
The researchers identified a variant within the livestock-associated clade that comprised isolates from both hospital environments and newborns. This finding suggests that CC398 found in livestock is capable of onward transmission in hospitals. Due to the use of antibiotics on farms, these variants have also gained resistance to some widely-used antibiotics.
“Our findings emphasize the need for strict biosecurity practices in the food production industry, as well as continued surveillance and infection control of MRSA in hospitals,” Ward said in a press release. “Responsible use of antibiotics in healthcare settings and agriculture is of utmost importance.”
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.