Abattoirs; Carrier State--epidemiology; Food Handling; Meat; Nasal Cavity--microbiology; Occupational Exposure; Staphylococcal Infections--epidemiology; Staphylococcus aureus--isolation & purification
Occupational contact with livestock is an established risk factor for exposure to livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), particularly among industrial swine workers. While S. aureus is known to infect cattle, livestock-associated S. aureuscarriage among workers in the beef production chain has received limited attention. Beefpacking workers, who slaughter, butcher and process cattle, have intensified exposure to potentially infectious animal materials and may be at risk of livestock-associated S. aureusexposure. We conducted a cross-sectional study of beefpacking workers (n = 137) at an industrial slaughterhouse in the Midwestern United States to evaluate prevalence and characteristics of S. aureus nasal colonization, specifically the absence of the scn gene to identify putative association with livestock, antibiotic susceptibility, presence of Panton-Valentin leukocidin (PVL) genes lukS-PV and lukF-PV, and spa type. Overall prevalence of S.aureus nasal carriage was 27.0%. No workers carried livestock-associated MRSA. Methicillin-sensitive S. aureus isolates (MSSA) recovered from five workers (3.6%) lacked the scn gene and were considered putative livestock-associated S. aureus (pLA-SA). Among pLA-SA isolates, spa types t338, t748, t1476 and t2379 were identified. To our knowledge, these spatypes have not previously been identified as associated with livestock. Prevalence of human-adapted MRSA carriage in workers was 3.6%. MRSA isolates were identified as spa types t002, t008 and t024, and four of five MRSA isolates were PVL-positive. To date, this is the first study to indicate that industrial beefpacking workers in the United States may be exposed to livestock-associated S. aureus, notably MSSA, and to spa types not previously identified in livestock and livestock workers. Occupational exposure to livestock-associated S. aureus in the beef production chain requires further epidemiologic investigation.
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Leibler JH, Jordan JA, Brownstein K, Lander L, Price LB, Perry MJ (2016) Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Carriage among Beefpacking Workers in a Midwestern United States Slaughterhouse. PLoS ONE 11(2): e0148789. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148789