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Identification of the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pig farms, farm employees and characterization of isolates in selected areas of Sri Lanka

NRC Grant:  14-105

Dr. R.S. Kalupahana
Dept. of Veterinary Public Health & Pharmacology
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine & Animal Science
University of Peradeniya
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Area of Research: Veterinary Medicine



a) To determine the presence of MRSA in pig farms in selected areas of Sri Lanka.

b) To identify the relation of antimicrobial usage to the presence of MRSA in pig farms.

c) To determine the presence of MRSA in nasal cavities of humans working with the animals and their family members who live in the farm premises.

d) To characterize the isolates.

e) To determine the relation of human and animal isolates by molecular typing.


 Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a multidrug resistant bacterium that is critically important pathogen in human medicine.  It has traditionally been considered as nosocomial pathogen.  More recently, specific type of MRSA emerged, which was observed in food producing animals and is referred as livestock associated MRSA (LA-MRSA).  Transmission of MRSA from pigs to humans has been identified in other countries.  Hence, this pathogen is a very important zoonotic bacterium posing occupational health risk to farming community, veterinarians and field staff and then to the society at large.   Because pigs are food producing animals there are inherent concerns about contamination of food chain with this organism.  There has been no investigation of LA-MRSA in Sri Lanka despite recognition of high prevalence of MRSA in hospital settings.  This lack of information is attributable to non-availability of molecular techniques in our laboratories.  Therefore, it is a national need to investigate the occurrence of LA-MRSA at least in a single animal species, in this case in pigs, so that the scientific community and the authorities including trade and quarantine can be alerted for necessary actions.  Possibly this will lead to initiation of more research on the topic as well as implementation of prevention and control strategies.   More importantly, data generated in this study can be utilized by the authority both in veterinary and medical fields, in making policy decisions on rational use of antibiotics.  The proposed study will generate the first report on this emerging pathogen of public health concern in Sri Lanka.