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Study finds livestock-related 'Staph' strain in child care worker
Date:5/6/2011

A new strain of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria associated with exposure to livestock was recently discovered in one Iowa child care worker who reported no contact with livestock, according to University of Iowa researchers.

The discovery was an unexpected finding in a study of Staphylococcus aureus in child day care facilities conducted by Erin Moritz, a doctoral student in epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health, for her dissertation. The finding was reported in a letter written by Moritz and her advisor, Tara Smith, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health. The letter was published in the April issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases, and is accessible online at: http://www.cdc.gov/eid/content/17/4/742.htm.

Moritz's dissertation looked at the occurrence of Staphylococcus aureus, often called "staph," in child day care facilities. As part of that research, she conducted molecular typing on all of the staph isolates found in child care workers and children and on surfaces in participating facilities, and discovered the single occurrence of asymptomatic ST398, a Staphylococcus aureus strain primarily associated with livestock farmers or others who have contact with livestock.

"We weren't expecting it," Moritz said. "Most people who have been found to carry ST398 have had contact with animals, especially agricultural animals, and she (the child care worker) reported no contact. That's what was unique about it."

While ST398 is the same staph strain as the one Smith found in a previous study of Iowa swine and swine workers in 2009, it is not exactly the same type. The ST398 found in the child care worker is treatable with the antibiotic methicillin, while the type found in the 2009 study was methicillin-resistant.

ST398 was first discovered in the Netherlands abo
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Contact: Jennifer Brown
jennifer-l-brown@uiowa.edu
319-356-7124
University of Iowa Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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