“Pig MRSA” in New York City – via the Dominican Republic?

Folks: Back in October, I broke the news for you of an intriguing poster presentation at the ICAAC meeting. It revealed the discovery of ST 398, the anomalous staph strain found in pigs, pig farmers and health care workers in Europe, in residents of a Dominican-immigrant neighborhood in northern Manhattan, and also in the Dominican Republic.

Because there is so much traffic back and forth between those neighborhoods, the authors theorized that people are providing an “air bridge” for the bacterium — though they were unable to say whether the bug is moving from the Dominican Republic to the United States, or vice versa.

I was unable to link to that presentation at the time, because it was a meeting poster – yes, literally a poster, the authors stand by it to discuss it with anyone who wanders by. However, now it has been published as a paper, in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases; and because it is a CDC journal, the full text is available free online here.

Just to underline, despite my headline above, the strain found in NYC was not MRSA: It actually is MSSA, drug-sensitive staph. The ST 398 found in Europe, Canada and the American Midwest is MRSA. The authors hypothesize that the NYC strain is at risk of becoming MRSA also.

To see the multiple posts in this blog about MRSA ST 398 and other strains in the food chain, food animals, and pets, go to the labels under the time stamp on this post, and click “animals” or “food.”

The cite for the paper is: Bhat M, Dumortier C, Taylor B, Miller M, Vasquez G, Yunen J, et al. Staphylococcus aureus ST398, New York City and Dominican Republic. Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Feb; [Epub ahead of print]

Maryn

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