Effects of tetracycline and zinc on selection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) sequence type 398 in pigs

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

An in vivo experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of tetracycline and zinc on pig colonization and transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) sequence type (ST) 398. Eight piglets naturally colonized with MRSA ST398 and 8 MRSA-negative piglets of the same age and breed were assigned to three groups treated with tetracycline and zinc (Group 1), zinc (Group 2) or tetracycline alone (Group 3) and one non-treated group (Group 4), each containing two MRSA-positive and two MRSA-negative animals. Two additional non-treated control groups composed of only MRSA-positive (Group 5) and MRSA-negative (Group 6) animals were used to check for stability of MRSA carriage status. Nasal swabs and environmental wipes were collected on Days 0, 7, 14, and 21, and the occurrence of MRSA in each sample was quantified by bacteriological counts on Brilliance™ MRSA agar. Significantly higher nasal MRSA counts were observed in the zinc-treated (p = 0.015) and tetracycline-treated (p = 0.008) animals compared to the non-treated animals. Environmental MRSA counts appeared to increase over time in Groups 1 and 2 but such an increase was not statistically significant. MRSA-negative animals housed with MRSA-positive animals became positive in all groups, whereas the carriage status of the animals in Groups 5 and 6 did not change. This study demonstrates that feed supplemented with tetracycline or zinc increases the numbers of MRSA ST398 in the nasal cavity of pigs. Transmission of MRSA from positive to negative animals housed within the same pen was not influenced by exposure to these agents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)420-423
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

ID: 33948053