Detection, molecular characterization, and antibiogram of multi-drug resistant and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolated from pets and pet owners in Malaysia

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Ph.D. Student in Veterinary Public Health, School of Animal Science, Aquatic Science and Environment, Faculty of Bioresources and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Besut Campus, 22200 Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia

2 BSc Student in Animal Production and Health, School of Animal Science, Aquatic Science and Environment, Faculty of Bioresources and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Besut Campus, 22200 Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia

3 Centralised Laboratory Management Centre, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Besut Campus, 22200 Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia

4 Department of Veterinary Preclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

5 School of Animal Science, Aquatic Science and Environment, Faculty of Bioresources and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Besut Campus, 22200 Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia


Background: The emergence of multidrug-resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MDRSA) in animals and humans with continuous contact are a great zoonotic concern. Aims: This cross-sectional study was performed to investigate the carriage rate, genotypic characteristics, and to determine the antibiogram of S. aureus isolated from pets and pet owners in Malaysia. Methods: Nasal and oral swab samples from 40 cats, 30 dogs, and 70 pet owners were collected through convenient sampling. Presumptive colonies on mannitol salt agar were subjected to biochemical identification. S. aureus and MRSA were confirmed by PCR detection of nuc and mecA genes, respectively. Molecular profiles for antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes in S. aureus were also determined. The antibiogram was carried out via Kirby-Bauer test using 18 antibiotics. Results: 17.5% of cats, 20% of dogs, and 27% of pet owners were S. aureus positive. MRSA was also detected in dogs, and pet owners. S. aureus isolates displayed high resistance against penicillin (72.7%), and amoxicillin/clavulanate (66.7%). 39.4% of S. aureus isolates showed multidrug-resistance traits, phenotypically. Molecular characterization of S. aureus revealed the presence of mecA, tetk, tetL, ermA, ermB, ermC, msrA, scn, chp, sak, sep, and sea genes. Conclusion: This study showed the emergence of MRSA and MDRSA in pets and pet owners in Malaysia. The antibiogram findings showed resistance of S. aureus to multiple antibiotics. Furthermore, molecular analysis of immune evasion cluster (IEC) strongly suggests the spread of animal-adapted S. aureus lineages among pets and pet owners.


Main Subjects

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