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Prevalence and properties of mecC methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in bovine bulk tank milk in Great Britain

Paterson, G. K.; Morgan, F. J. E.; Harrison, E. M.; Peacock, S. J.; Parkhill, J.; Zadoks, R. N.; Holmes, M. A.


G. K. Paterson

F. J. E. Morgan

E. M. Harrison

S. J. Peacock

J. Parkhill

R. N. Zadoks

M. A. Holmes


Objectives mecC methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) represent a newly recognized form of MRSA, distinguished by the possession of a divergent mecA homologue, mecC. The first isolate to be identified came from bovine milk, but there are few data on the prevalence of mecC MRSA among dairy cattle. The aim of this study was to conduct a prevalence study of mecC MRSA among dairy farms in Great Britain. Methods Test farms were randomly selected by random order generation and bulk tank samples were tested for the presence of mecC MRSA by broth enrichment and plating onto chromogenic agar. All MRSA isolated were screened by PCR for mecA and mecC, and mecC MRSA were further characterized by multilocus sequence typing, spa typing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Results mecC MRSA were detected on 10 of 465 dairy farms sampled in England and Wales (prevalence 2.15%, 95% CI 1.17%–3.91%), but not from 625 farms sampled in Scotland (95% CI of prevalence 0%–0.61%). Seven isolates belonged to sequence type (ST) 425, while the other three belonged to clonal complex 130. Resistance to non-β-lactam antibiotics was uncommon. All 10 isolates produced a negative result by slide agglutination for penicillin-binding protein 2a. mecA MRSA ST398 was detected on one farm in England. Conclusions mecC MRSA is widely distributed among dairy farms in Great Britain, but this distribution is not uniform across the whole country. These results provide an important baseline dataset to monitor the epidemiology of this emerging form of MRSA.


Paterson, G. K., Morgan, F. J. E., Harrison, E. M., Peacock, S. J., Parkhill, J., Zadoks, R. N., & Holmes, M. A. (2014). Prevalence and properties of mecC methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in bovine bulk tank milk in Great Britain. The journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy, 69(3), 598-602.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 25, 2013
Online Publication Date Oct 23, 2013
Publication Date Mar 1, 2014
Deposit Date Jun 12, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 12, 2015
Journal Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy
Print ISSN 0305-7453
Electronic ISSN 1460-2091
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 69
Issue 3
Pages 598-602
Keywords Bovine mastitis; Antibiotic resistance; Molecular epidemiology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article originally published: Journal of antimicrobial chemotherapy, 2014, v.69, issue 3


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Copyright Statement
© The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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