Carriage of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a Colony of Rhesus (Macaca mulatta) and Cynomolgus (Macaca fascicularis) Macaques

Abigail W. Greenstein, Susan Boyle-Vavra, Carol W. Maddox, Xiwei Tang, Lisa C. Halliday, Jeffrey D. Fortman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage and infection are well documented in the human and veterinary literature; however only limited information is available regarding MRSA carriage and infection in laboratory NHP populations. The objective of this study was to characterize MRSA carriage in a representative research colony of rhesus and cynomolgus macaques through a cross-sectional analysis of 300 animals. MRSA carriage was determined by using nasal culture. Demographic characteristics of carriers and noncarriers were compared to determine factors linked to increased risk of carriage, and MRSA isolates were analyzed to determine antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, staphylococcal chromosome cassette mec (SCCmec) type, and multilocus sequence type (ST). Culture results demonstrated MRSA carriage in 6.3% of the study population. Animals with greater numbers of veterinary or experimental interventions including antibiotic administration, steroid administration, dental procedures, and surgery were more likely to carry MRSA. Susceptibility results indicated that MRSA isolates were resistant to β-lactams, and all isolates were resistant to between 1 and 4 non β-lactam antibiotics. In addition, 73.7% of MRSA isolates were identified as ST188-SCCmec IV, an isolate previously observed in an unrelated population of macaques and 15.8% were ST3268-SCCmec V, which has only been described in macaques. A single isolate had a novel sequence type, ST3478, and carried SCCmec V. These results suggest that NHP-adapted strains of MRSA exist and highlight the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in laboratory NHP populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalComparative Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)

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