Tel.+49 30 8385 1845 Fax.+49 30 83845 1863
A high prevalence of MRSA among farm animals, especially pigs, has been observed for some time. However, knowledge on transmission routes of MRSA in livestock production is still scarce. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of MRSA in pig house air as well as in samples from pigs and their housing environment in 27 MRSA positive pig barns of different sizes and production types. In 85.2% of all barns MRSA was detected in the animal house air. Impingement turned out to be a more sensitive sampling technique than filtration. Other environmental samples such as boot swabs or faeces showed prevalences of MRSA from 55.6% to 85.2% at sample level. The level of MRSA was 88.3% for pooled and 82.1% for single nasal swabs, in skin swabs the one was 87.7%, the others was 78.7%. Spa typing of isolates from air and nasal swabs showed predominantly spa types t011 and t034. MRSA prevalences in pigs as well as in various environmental samples were significantly higher in fattening farms than in breeding farms. This study provides good reference that there could be an airborne transmission of MRSA within pig herds indicating a potential contamination of the environment of barns.