Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2021 Mar 26. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2020.2899. Online ahead of print.
Contamination of meat with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria represents a major public health threat worldwide. In this study, we determined the antimicrobial resistance profiles and resistance trends of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from major food animal carcasses (408 cattle, 1196 pig, and 1312 chicken carcass isolates) in Korea from 2010 to 2018. Approximately 75%, 92%, and 77% of cattle, pig, and chicken carcass isolates, respectively, were resistant to at least one antimicrobial agent. Resistance to penicillin (62.1%) was the highest, followed by resistance to tetracycline (42.1%) and erythromycin (28.2%). About 30% of pig and chicken isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin. We observed linezolid resistance only in pig isolates (2.3%). However, all S. aureus isolates were sensitive to rifampin and vancomycin. We noted an increasing but fluctuating trend of kanamycin and penicillin resistance in cattle isolates. Similarly, the chloramphenicol, ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, and trimethoprim resistance rates were increased but fluctuated through time in pig isolates. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) accounted for 5%, 8%, and 9% of the cattle, pig, and chicken isolates, respectively. The MRSA strains exhibited significantly high resistance rates to most of the tested antimicrobials, including ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, and tetracycline compared with methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strains. Notably, a relatively high percentage of MRSA strains (5.2%) recovered from pig carcasses were resistant to linezolid compared with MSSA strains (2.1%). In addition, almost 37% of the isolates were multi-drug resistant. S. aureus isolates recovered from major food animal carcasses in Korea exhibited resistance to clinically important antimicrobials, posing a public health risk.