Human MRSA Strains Traced to Cattle

GLOBAL – Two genetic subtypes of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), endemic in human populations, have been traced back to cattle.
calendar icon 15 August 2013
clock icon 1 minute read

This is according to research undertaken at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh which studied the genetics of 40 strains of bacterium that can develop into MRSA.

By providing insight into how some MRSA strains evolve, the team hopes to understand how they then adapt to cause disease in host species.

Characteristics of the CC97 strain were plotted in a phylogenetic tree which enabled scientists to see that a strain of the bacterium in cows appeared to be the ancestor of CC97 found in humans.

The hypothesis for cattle to human cross over is through direct contact through farming and animal husbandry practices.

Lead researcher, Professor Ross Fitzgerald, of The Roslin Institute, said: "Human infections caused by bacteria being transmitted directly from livestock are well known to occur. However this is the first clear genetic evidence of subtypes of Staphylococcus aureus which jumped from cattle and developed the capacity to transmit widely among human populations."

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