Fluorescence amplified fragment length polymorphism (fAFLP) was used to assess the genetic relatedness of 40 Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from human and animal skin samples in seven dairy farms with manual milking. S. aureus was isolated from 11 out of 30 (36%) human skin samples and from 29 out of 100 (29%) teat skin samples from apparently healthy cows. Genomic DNA from each isolate was double-digested with EcoRI and MseI and complementary oligonucleotide adaptors were ligated to the restriction fragments. Pre-selective and selective amplification reactions were performed, the amplified fragments were separated by electrophoresis in an ABI377 sequencer and analysed using GeneScan 3.1 and Genotyper 2.5. Three single isolates (a-c), a predominant cluster with 35 isolates (d) and another cluster with two isolates (e) were identified. Both clusters d and e included human and animal isolates genetically related, because the profiles had 90-100% homology. Since no cluster was comprised uniquely of human or animal isolates and given the close genetic relatedness among human and animal samples in the farms, the present findings support the hypothesis that dairy workers can spread S. aureus through manual milking. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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