Over the last years, we have been getting used to the fact, that commercial pig, veal, and chicken farms, as well as horse breeding, is associated with a risk of animal to human transmission of livestock-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA). In the line of suspects, chicken were the last to be conformed as true source of LA-MRSA. Van Duijkeren et al (J Antimicrob Chemother 2016;71:58-62) investigated addition feathered suspects, namely dugs and turkeys.
First of all lets get Donald & friends of the list of suspects. In only one of 10 duck farms that were investigated, MRSA was found in the samples from the animals and duck houses. None of the humans living or working on duck farms, nor any part of their residence, was MRSA-positive. It therefore seems save to conclude that ducks pose no danger for transmission of LA-MRSA.
Unfortunately, the story about turkeys seems to be different. Overall, 3 of the 10 turkey farms harbored MRSA. In addition, MRSA was found in 16% of the humans and 31% of the farmhouse samples. The highest risk was seen among the turkey farmers themselves (45.5% MRSA-positive), but employees and family members (6.3%) weren’t free of risk, either. Significant risk factors found by the investigators were: having physical contact with the animals and visiting poultry houses.
In 2 out of 3 frams in which MRSA was found among the animals and the humans, whole genome mapping showed >95% homology, corroborating the strong evidence for animal-to-human transmission of MRSA on turkey farms.