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Dutch Girl Contracts MRSA from Friesian Foal, Recovers

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  • Dutch Girl Contracts MRSA from Friesian Foal, Recovers

    In the Netherlands another human MRSA infection related to a horse was reported earlier this year. The source probably was a horse owned by a nurse; the nurse infected a patient. See:

    Dutch Girl Contracts MRSA from Friesian Foal, Recovers

    by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre

    September 12 2011,

    A 16-year-old Dutch girl has recovered after having supposedly acquired an antibiotic-resistant staph wound infection from her Friesian foal, according to a Dutch researcher. This is only the third case of horse-to-human transmission of a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection ever reported. The other two occurred in Canada.

    Although rare, horse-to-human MRSA transmission does occur, said Engeline van Duijkeren, DVM, PhD, assistant professor in the department of infectious diseases and immunology at the faculty of veterinary medicine at Utrecht University.

    "Horses can be carriers of MRSA, and this horse carried MRSA without any (clinical signs) of disease," van Duijkeren said. The foal had been hospitalized in a veterinary clinic two months before the girl's infection began, and it's likely where he picked up the bacteria, she added. The foal was being treated for a wound infection, which healed with antibiotics. Although no sample from the wound infection was tested for MRSA, the equine hospital regularly sees MRSA cases, which can be passed to other horses.

    In the most recent case, the bacteria--which laboratory testing found to be resistant to the drugs clindamycin, erythromycin, gentamicin, kanamycin, tetracycline, and trimethoprim/sulfonamide--is believed to have entered the girl's body through an open wound (an insect bite) on her leg and colonized, van Duijkeren said. The infection resolved three months later after treatment with mupirocin, fusidic acid, and rifampin, as well as chlorhexidine shampoo baths three times daily.

    The girl's foal, which tested positive as a carrier for MRSA, received no MRSA-specific treatment and tested negative for the bacteria three months later. None of the girl's family members, their cats and dogs, or their other seven horses tested positive for the disease.

    The Horse

    See also: Longitudinal study of antimicrobial-resistant commensal Escherichia coli in the faeces of horses in an equine hospital.
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