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In this study we investigated the kinetics of colonization, the host susceptibility and transmissibility of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) after nasal treatment of pigs with three different MRSA strains of distinctive clonal lineages (sequence type 398 [ST398], ST8, and ST9), and origin in weaning piglets. The colonization dose of 5.0 × 10(8) CFU/animal was determined in preliminary animal studies. A total of 57 piglets were randomly divided into four test groups and one control group. Each of three test groups was inoculated intranasally with either MRSA ST8, MRSA ST9, or MRSA ST398. The fourth group was a mixture of animals inoculated with MRSA ST398 and noninoculated "sentinel" animals. Clinical signs, the nasal, conjunctival, and skin colonization of MRSA, fecal excretion, and organ distribution of MRSA, as well as different environmental samples were examined. After nasal inoculation with MRSA piglets of all four test groups showed no clinical signs of an MRSA infection. MRSA was present on the nasal mucosa, skin, and conjunctiva in all four test groups, including sentinel animals. Likewise, fecal excretion and internal colonization of MRSA ST8, ST9, and ST398 could be shown in each group. However, fecal excretion and the colonization rate of the nasal mucosa with MRSA ST9 were significantly lower in the first days after infection than in test groups infected with ST8 and ST398. The results of this study suggest differences in colonization potential of the different MRSA types in pigs. Furthermore, colonization of lymph nodes (e.g., the ileocecal lymph node) with MRSA of the clonal lineage ST398 was demonstrated.