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)


aSchool of Animal, Aquatic and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Bioresources and Food Industry, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Besut Campus, 22200, Besut, Terengganu, Malaysia



Background:Emergence of multidrug resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MDRSA) in animal and human with continuous contact are a great zoonotic concern. Aims: This cross-sectional study was performed to investigate the carriage rate, genotypic characteristics and 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. MRSAwas 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 trait 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 pet and pet owner in Malaysia. The antibiogram findings showed S. aureus have developed resistance against multiple antibiotics. Furthermore, molecular analysis of immune evasion cluster (IEC) strongly suggests the spread of animal adapted S. aureus lineages among pet and pet owners.


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