Of Dogs and Men: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Of Dogs and Men: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Brian Lubbers and Carey-Ann Burnham

"A healthy, adult male presents to the primary care professional for a routine MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) screen. The doctor obtains a swab from the perineal area by gently lifting the patient's tail…..yes, tail. The patient is Rusty, a 6 year-old, Golden Retriever, whose family is experiencing recurrent MRSA episodes."

In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as a Serious Antibiotic Resistance Threat in the United States. Although MRSA was traditionally considered a nosocomial pathogen, community-associated infection, especially skin and soft tissue infection, is increasingly common. In addition, strain types that were traditionally considered "community associated" are becoming the predominant strain types in many medical centers. In addition to skin and soft tissue infections, MRSA may colonize individuals completely asymptomatically, or cause invasive disease such as blood stream infection, pneumonia, and bone and joint infections. Using a directed case study approach, the proposed case will utilize the above fictional scenario to enhance student understanding of the basic microbiology / mechanisms of resistance for MRSA, potential diagnostic measures, and epidemiological challenges associated with MRSA. The interplay of this organism between companion animals and humans, and infection prevention measures will be discussed, in light of current scientific literature, with emphasis on the interaction that is needed between human and veterinary medical professionals in resolving recurrent household MRSA infections.
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