RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Isolation, Virulence, and Antimicrobial Resistance of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Methicillin Sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) Strains from Oklahoma Retail Poultry Meats.

Staphylococcus aureus is one the top five pathogens causing domestically acquired foodborne illness in the U.S. Only a few studies are available related to the prevalence of S. aureus and MRSA in the U.S. retail poultry industry. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of S. aureus (MSSA and MRSA) in retail chicken and turkey meats sold in Tulsa, Oklahoma and to characterize the recovered strains for their antimicrobial resistance and possession of toxin genes. A total of 167 (114 chicken and 53 turkey) retail poultry samples were used in this study. The chicken samples included 61 organic samples while the rest of the poultry samples were conventional. The overall prevalence of S. aureus was 57/106 (53.8%) in the conventional poultry samples and 25/61 (41%) in the organic ones. Prevalence in the turkey samples (64.2%) was higher than in the chicken ones (42.1%). Prevalence of S. aureus did not vary much between conventional (43.4%) and organic chicken samples (41%). Two chicken samples 2/114 (1.8%) were positive for MRSA. PFGE identified the two MRSA isolates as belonging to PFGE type USA300 (from conventional chicken) and USA 500 (from organic chicken) which are community acquired CA-MRSA suggesting a human based source of contamination. MLST and spa typing also supported this conclusion. A total of 168 Staphylococcus aureus isolates (101 chicken isolates and 67 turkey isolates) were screened for their antimicrobial susceptibility against 16 antimicrobials and their possession of 18 different toxin genes. Multidrug resistance was higher in the turkey isolates compared to the chicken ones and the percentage of resistance to most of the antimicrobials tested was also higher among the turkey isolates. The hemolysin hla and hld genes, enterotoxins seg and sei, and leucocidins lukE-lukD were more prevalent in the chicken isolates. The PVL gene lukS-lukF was detected only in chicken isolates including the MRSA ones. In conclusion, S. aureus is highly prevalent in poultry retail meats sold in Oklahoma with a very low presence of human-originated MRSA. Multidrug resistance is not only prevalent in the MRSA isolates, but also in many MSSA poultry strains, particularly turkey.

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