Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a troublesome pathogen in human medicine, and now the bacteria appear to be an emerging problem in veterinary medicine as well.
Two studies and a letter appearing in the December 2006 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlight the problem, documented in veterinary personnel in the United States and Europe.
One study found methicillin-resistant S aureus to be more common among veterinary personnel involved with large animal practice than with small animal practice.
In a separate study involving veterinarians and veterinary students working with livestock in the Netherlands, no correlation could be found between a specific animal group and a higher incidence of the drug-resistant bacteria.
Researchers cautioned that to preserve the low prevalence of methicillin-resistant S aureus in the Netherlands, persons caring for livestock should be isolated and screened on admission to the hospital, however.
A letter to the editor described what may well be the first reported case of methicillin-resistant S aureus in a household pet. Drug-resistant bacteria were diagnosed in a 3-year-old, neutered male domestic shorthaired cat, referred to a veterinary specialty clinic in San Francisco.
Because indistinguishable isolates were collected from the owner and infected cat, the pathogen was most likely transmitted between species in the household, the letter states.
Read both reports and the letter at www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/ and searching under Staphylococcus aureus.