Staphylococcus aureus is an important cause of a wide variety of infections in humans. There are many anti-staphylococcal agents; however, the bacterium has developed mechanisms to neutralize them such as the methicillin resistance mechanism. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is an increasing cause of health care-associated (HA-MRSA) and community-associated (CA-MRSA) infections worldwide. The methicillin resistance is attributed to the altered penicillin-binding protein (PBP2a) encoded in the mecA gene. Most animals can be colonized with S. aureus, and during slaughtering, contamination of carcasses and meat with MRSA may occur. Recently, MRSA strains have been isolated from several food production animals raising concern as to the safety of meat.
We are working on the molecular identification of Staphylococcus aureus and Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in animals, retail meat, and humans. The aim of my study is to determine the prevalence of S. aureus and MRSA in animals and retail meat in Fargo, ND, and to compare the strains with human isolates.