Detection and Molecular Characterization of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus from Table Eggs in Haripur, Pakistan

Muhammad Ali Syed, Syeda Hala Hussain Shah, Yasmin Sherafzal, Syed Shafi-Ur-Rehman, Mushtaq Ahmed Khan, John B. Barrett, Tiffanie A. Woodley, Bushra Jamil, Shahid Ahmad Abbasi, Charlene R. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Table eggs are nutritionally important food consumed globally. Despite being protected inside the hard shell and a semipermeable membrane, the egg contents may be contaminated with microbes and thus become a possible carrier of infectious agents to humans. A number of medically significant bacterial species such as Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes, and Yersinia enterocolitica have already been reported from table eggs. More important is the presence of antimicrobial-resistant bacterial strains in this food source. The present study was aimed at detection and characterization of Staphylococcus aureus from table eggs collected from different retail shops in Haripur city of Pakistan. Staphylococci were isolated from 300 eggs collected from December 2015 to May 2016. S. aureus isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility using broth microdilution and characterized using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing (MLST), staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing, and spa typing. The presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin and antimicrobial resistance genes were detected using PCR. Staphylococci were isolated from 21.3% (64/300) of the table eggs tested. Of those, 59% (38/64) were identified as S. aureus, of which 33 (86.8%) were positive for mecA (MRSA, methicillin-resistant S. aureus). All MRSA were multidrug resistant (resistant to two or more antimicrobial classes), contained aac-aph (encoding aminoglycosides), and were pvl + . Using MLST, spa typing, and SCCmec typing, three genotypic patterns were assigned: ST8-t8645-MRSA-IV, associated with USA300; and ST772-t657-MRSA-IV and ST772-t8645-MRSA-IV, both characteristic of the Bengal Bay community-associated MRSA clone. Molecular typing by PFGE revealed that the bacterial population was highly homogenous with only two patterns observed. This study is the first report of detection of human-associated pvl + MRSA from table eggs. The genetic similarities of MRSA present in the eggs to that of humans may suggest human to poultry transmission of MRSA via contamination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Panton-Valentine leukocidin
  • antimicrobial resistant
  • table eggs


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