J Dairy Sci. 2021 Mar 5:S0022-0302(21)00266-6. doi: 10.3168/jds.2020-19704. Online ahead of print.
This study aimed to determine the occurrence of methicillin-resistant (MR) non-aureus staphylococci (NAS) on 20 preselected German dairy farms. Farms were selected based on the detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) during previous diagnostic investigations. Bacterial culture of presumptive MR-NAS was based on a 2-step enrichment method that has been recommended for MRSA detection. Quarter milk samples (QMS), bulk tank milk, swab samples from young stock, and environmental samples were collected for bacterial culture. Methicillin-resistant NAS were detected on all study farms. The MR-NAS positive test rate was 3.3% (77/2,347) in QMS, 42.1% (8/19) in bulk tank milk, 29.1% (59/203) in nasal swabs from milk-fed calves, 18.3% (35/191) in postweaning calves, and 7.3% (14/191) in nasal swabs from prefresh heifers. In the environment, MR-NAS were detected in dust samples on 25% (5/20) of the dairy farms as well as in teat liners and suckers from automatic calf feeders. The geometric mean somatic cell count in QMS affected by MR-NAS (183,000 cells/mL) was slightly higher compared with all QMS (114,000 cells/mL). Nine MR-NAS species were identified; Staph. sciuri, Staph. lentus, Staph. fleurettii, Staph. epidermidis, and Staph. haemolyticus were the most common species. In addition, 170 NAS isolates were identified that showed reduced cefoxitin susceptibility (4 mg/L) but did not harbor the mecA or mecC genes. On some farms, similar mobile genetic elements were detected in MR-NAS and MRSA. It was suggested that resistance genes may be transferred between NAS and Staph. aureus on the respective farms.