MRSA Colonization and Infection in Swine Veterinarians
Dates: 2016 – current
The importance of the human-animal interface as a source of emerging infectious diseases is universally recognized. People having regular animal contact are at the front line for exposure to known and emerging pathogens, and veterinarians provide a unique window into occupational risks for emerging zoonotic diseases. A 5-year longitudinal cohort study of US swine veterinarians will be conducted to understand the exposure and health risks attributable to pig exposure for three important emerging zoonotic pathogens that are endemic in the US swine industry: 1) Livestock associated S. aureus (including MRSA and multidrug resistant S. aureus); 2) Influenza A viruses; 3) Hepatitis E virus. A control group of companion animal veterinarians without contact with swine will be included for comparison of exposure and health risks, and to enable calculation of risks attributable to swine exposure.
The specific aims are:
- Determine the relative risk of MRSA and multiple drug-resistant S. aureus (MDRSA) exposure, and associated health events, in swine veterinarians and companion animal veterinarians;
- Determine relative risks for influenza A virus (IAV) exposure and disease in swine veterinarians and a control population, and estimate the relative likelihoods of bidirectional transmission events;
- Estimate the risk of Hepatitis E (HEV) exposure and seroconversion in swine veterinarians.
The study includes routine quarterly sampling to assess exposure, and opportunistic sampling associated with n relevant health events occurring during the study. The S. aureus component focuses on health risks in the subset of subjects that become permanently colonized with swine-origin S.aureus, and includes assessment of trends in antibiotic resistance following regulatory changes in antibiotic use in the swine industry. The IAV component is directed at furthering understanding the relative importance of human-to-pig and pig-to-human transmission to the overall epidemiology of influenza at the pig-human interface. The HEV study is directed at assessing short-term and longer term trends in occupational risk of HEV exposure and infection in swine industry workers.