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European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) as a natural reservoir of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carrying mecC in Denmark.


ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES:A recent study from Sweden showed that European hedgehogs may constitute a reservoir for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but this host-parasite relationship remains to be investigated in other countries. In this study, we therefore sought to: 1) determine the dissemination of MRSA in European hedgehogs throughout Denmark; 2) investigate determinants of MRSA carriage in hedgehogs; 3) determine the potential for zoonotic transmission of MRSA from hedgehogs to humans; and 4) characterise the detected MRSA on both a phenotypic and molecular level. METHODS:Nasal swabs were taken from 188 dead hedgehogs collected by volunteers throughout Denmark to determine the occurrence of MRSA. Additionally, 16 hedgehog rehabilitators were tested for potential zoonotic transmission of MRSA from hedgehogs to humans. The swabs were incubated in tryptic soy broth supplemented with 6.5% NaCl, followed by spread of 10 ?l on Brilliance MRSA 2 agar. One presumptive MRSA colony from each plate was subcultured on 5% blood agar. All S. aureus subcultures were verified by a PCR assay detecting mecA, mecC, lukF-PV, scn, and spa, followed by spa typing. RESULTS:A total of 114 (61%) hedgehogs carried mecC-MRSA, whereas none carried mecA-MRSA. The detected mecC-MRSA belonged to two genetic lineages CC130 (spa-types: t528, t843, t1048, t3256, t3570, t6220, t17133) and CC1943 (spa-types: t978, t2345, t3391, t8835, t16868), 52% of which were spa-type t843 (CC130).The detection rate of mecC-MRSA in the hedgehogs was similar regardless of cause of death, sex, region and habitat type. None of the hedgehog rehabilitators carried MRSA. CONCLUSIONS:This nationwide study confirms a high occurrence of mecC-MRSA in hedgehogs, which could serve as a natural reservoir for this specific type of MRSA. Furthermore, our study did not find signs of zoonotic transmission of mecC-MRSA to hedgehog rehabilitators.

SUBMITTER: Rasmussen SL 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6730924 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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