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Bovine mastitis outbreak in Japan caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus New York/Japan clone.

  • Hata, Eiji1
  • 1 Dairy Hygiene Research Division, National Institute of Animal Health, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan [email protected] , (Japan)
Published Article
Journal of veterinary diagnostic investigation : official publication of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, Inc
Publication Date
May 2016
DOI: 10.1177/1040638716643126
PMID: 27075849


Many methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains are multidrug-resistant; consequently, infectious diseases involving MRSA are recognized as troublesome diseases not only in human health care but also in animal health care. A bovine mastitis case caused by MRSA isolates of the New York/Japan clone (NJC), which occurred in Japan in 2005, was monitored in the current study. Isolates of the NJC are typical of hospital-acquired MRSA in Japan. The genetic backgrounds of these strains differ from those of bovine-associated S. aureus, which are typically of clonal complex (CC)97, CC705, and CC133. Moreover, the NJC isolates in this bovine outbreak possessed a β-hemolysin-converting bacteriophage and an immune evasion cluster, as found in the NJC isolates from humans, so it is possible that this clone was introduced into the dairy herd by a human carrier. Most bovine intramammary infections (IMIs) caused by the NJC isolates in our study were asymptomatic, and obvious clinical signs were recognized in only the first 3 infected cows. Of a total of 78 cows, 31 cows were MRSA carriers, and these carrier cows were detected by testing the milk of all lactating cows at 1-month intervals. These S. aureus carrier cows were culled or the infected quarter was dried off and no longer milked. Both IMI and mastitis caused by MRSA were completely eradicated after 5 months. Genotyping data suggested that exchanging of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (the determining factor in methicillin resistance) occurred easily between MRSA and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus in the udders of carrier cows. This case study demonstrates an effective procedure against the spread of MRSA in a dairy herd, and highlights the risk of emergence of new MRSA strains in a dairy herd.

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