Investigation of livestock associated MRSA (ST398) in the UK pig herd

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Veterinary Medicine

Abstract

Theme: Agriculture and Food Security

The proposed study seeks to perform cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys looking for LA-MRSA (live-stock associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) in the UK pig herd. MRSA in an important cause of human disease, with the potential to cause a range of infections from minor skin disease to life-threatening bacteraemias. The research will use conventional sampling and microbiological techniques to identify MRSA isolates. Next generation sequencing of isolates will be used to undertake phylogenetic (epidemiological studies) and identify transmission events. Data will also be used to undertake a farm-level case control study to look for risk factors associated with LA-MRSA presence, such as antibiotic use, biosecurity, and use of zinc and copper as growth promotors. The research will (a) provide baseline levels of prevalence to enable the effectiveness of control strategies to be measured, (b) identify factors associated with LA-MRSA infection to help inform control measures, (c) develop models describing potential transmission pathways which will be of more general value in determining biosecurity risks, and (d) validation of optimised sustainable LA-MRSA monitoring protocols for UK pig farms. The non-academic partner is part of one of the largest pork producers in the UK, and provides the administrative, field and veterinary support to over 250 pig farms, located primarily in East Anglia, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the South West.

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011194/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1933079 Studentship BB/M011194/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Rhiannon Wood
 
Description Carriage rates of Livestock Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) ST398 in at- risk sectors of the UK human population 
Organisation Government of Scotland
Department Food Standards Agency (FSA), Scotland
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution All correspondence written by myself, ethical approval sought and received by us. Postage for correspondence (including swab packs), materials, equipment and lab work paid for by our funding. Sample processing and lab work was performed by us. DNA from isolates extracted by us and sent to Sanger Institute for sequencing, paid for by our funding.
Collaborator Contribution PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory all allowed me to use their names in conjunction with the study on correspondence with participants and the FSS. Eville and Jones and FSS forwarded all correspondence (including sampling packs) to employees on my behalf (maintaining anonymity of participants). It is hoped that we will provide PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratories with sequences in return for some of theirs.
Impact DNA has been extracted from isolates and sent to the Sanger institute. We are awaiting sequencing data. This data will be analysed, as will the metadata from questionnaires filled out by participants. Following this outcomes can be assessed.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Carriage rates of Livestock Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) ST398 in at- risk sectors of the UK human population 
Organisation NHS Health Scotland
Department Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution All correspondence written by myself, ethical approval sought and received by us. Postage for correspondence (including swab packs), materials, equipment and lab work paid for by our funding. Sample processing and lab work was performed by us. DNA from isolates extracted by us and sent to Sanger Institute for sequencing, paid for by our funding.
Collaborator Contribution PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory all allowed me to use their names in conjunction with the study on correspondence with participants and the FSS. Eville and Jones and FSS forwarded all correspondence (including sampling packs) to employees on my behalf (maintaining anonymity of participants). It is hoped that we will provide PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratories with sequences in return for some of theirs.
Impact DNA has been extracted from isolates and sent to the Sanger institute. We are awaiting sequencing data. This data will be analysed, as will the metadata from questionnaires filled out by participants. Following this outcomes can be assessed.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Carriage rates of Livestock Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) ST398 in at- risk sectors of the UK human population 
Organisation Public Health England
Department Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections Reference Unit
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution All correspondence written by myself, ethical approval sought and received by us. Postage for correspondence (including swab packs), materials, equipment and lab work paid for by our funding. Sample processing and lab work was performed by us. DNA from isolates extracted by us and sent to Sanger Institute for sequencing, paid for by our funding.
Collaborator Contribution PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory all allowed me to use their names in conjunction with the study on correspondence with participants and the FSS. Eville and Jones and FSS forwarded all correspondence (including sampling packs) to employees on my behalf (maintaining anonymity of participants). It is hoped that we will provide PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratories with sequences in return for some of theirs.
Impact DNA has been extracted from isolates and sent to the Sanger institute. We are awaiting sequencing data. This data will be analysed, as will the metadata from questionnaires filled out by participants. Following this outcomes can be assessed.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Carriage rates of Livestock Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) ST398 in at- risk sectors of the UK human population 
Organisation Public Health Wales NHS Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution All correspondence written by myself, ethical approval sought and received by us. Postage for correspondence (including swab packs), materials, equipment and lab work paid for by our funding. Sample processing and lab work was performed by us. DNA from isolates extracted by us and sent to Sanger Institute for sequencing, paid for by our funding.
Collaborator Contribution PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory all allowed me to use their names in conjunction with the study on correspondence with participants and the FSS. Eville and Jones and FSS forwarded all correspondence (including sampling packs) to employees on my behalf (maintaining anonymity of participants). It is hoped that we will provide PHE, PHW and Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratories with sequences in return for some of theirs.
Impact DNA has been extracted from isolates and sent to the Sanger institute. We are awaiting sequencing data. This data will be analysed, as will the metadata from questionnaires filled out by participants. Following this outcomes can be assessed.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Phages 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provision of pig faeces and related data as part of a much larger project. Only a small contribution.
Collaborator Contribution All lab work and protocols and the rest of the project.
Impact As I am only a minor contributor to this study I am not aware of the progress.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Staphylococcus aureus in retail meat 
Organisation Alliance to Save our Antibiotics
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Meat for one of five locations purchased by our team. Meat samples stored, processed and all laboratory work performed in our lab. Isolates sent for whole genome sequencing. All lab work and sequencing paid for by our team.
Collaborator Contribution Meat for four out of five location purchased by Alliance to Save our Antibiotics and sent to us.
Impact Isolates of Staphylococcus aureus found were sent for whole genome sequencing. Results are awaited before outcomes can be assessed fully and the possibility of publications can be considered.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Attendance at roundtable event to discuss LA-MRSA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact A roundtable event to which myself and my supervisor were invited. At this event we were involved in discussions with other researchers, vets, farmers, pig industry and retailer representatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Participation in Veterinary Public Health Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I have attended Veterinary Public Health Association (VPHA) conferences twice a year and now sit on the VPHA council. At the conferences I am able to discuss my research and related issues with vets working in livestock, food hygiene, public health sectors and the civil service. The connections I have made at the conferences and through sitting on the council have enabled me to conduct a national study of people working in abattoirs, both through endorsement from public health and food standards bodies and enrolment of participants. Practical help with contacting participants and distributing packs was also provided through connections made.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
 
Description Talk to Pig Veterinary Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Asked to present research at Pig Veterinary Society biannual conference. Hope that it might allay some fears that the project would create problems for the pig industry (which has resulted in limited engagement with the project in the past).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018