Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in bulk tank milk, livestock and dairy-farm personnel in north-central and north-eastern Greece: Prevalence, characterization and genetic relatedness.Food Microbiol. 2019 Dec; 84:103249.FM
Recently, there has been an increased tendency towards raw-milk consumption, which may pose a consumer risk, due to the possible presence of human pathogenic microorganisms, such as Staphylococcus aureus and even methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The prevalence of S. aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) was investigated in 40 dairy (cattle, sheep and goat) farms in northern Greece. S. aureus and MRSA were detected in 47.8% and 4.1% of the 387 samples (raw milk, farmers and animal samples) tested, respectively. Most (81.3%) of the MRSA isolates harbored the mecA gene, whereas the mecC or Panton-Valentine Leucocidin (PVL) genes were not detected. Seven spa types were identified, with t127 being the most prevalent. Spa type t034 (CC398) was isolated for the first time from livestock in Greece. Staphylococcal enterotoxin genes were detected in 93.8% of the MRSA isolates. The MRSA isolates were genetically diverse and were all capable of biofilm production. Our results confirm the lurking threat of MRSA in raw milk and dairy farms and suggest the need for surveillance programs starting at the farm level.