Molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant staphylococci from the dairy value chain in two Indian states
Bovine milk and milk products may contain pathogens, antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and antibiotic residues that could harm consumers. We analyzed 282 gram-positive isolates from milk samples from dairy farmers and vendors in Haryana and Assam, India, to assess the prevalence of methicillin-resistant staphylococci using microbiological tests, antibiotic susceptibility testing, and genotyping by PCR. The prevalence of genotypic methicillin resistance in isolates from raw milk samples was 5% [95% confidence interval, CI (3–8)], with 7% [CI (3–10)] in Haryana, in contrast to 2% [CI (0.2–6)] in Assam. The prevalence was the same in isolates from milk samples collected from farmers [5% (n = 6), CI (2–11)] and vendors [5% (n = 7), CI (2–10)]. Methicillin resistance was also observed in 15% of the isolates from pasteurized milk [(n = 3), CI (3–38)]. Two staphylococci harboring a novel mecC gene were identified for the first time in Indian dairy products. The only SCCmec type identified was Type V. The staphylococci with the mecA (n = 11) gene in raw milk were commonly resistant to oxacillin [92%, CI (59–100)] and cefoxitin [74%, CI (39–94)], while the isolates with mecC (n = 2) were resistant to oxacillin (100%) only. All the staphylococci with the mecA (n = 3) gene in pasteurized milk were resistant to both oxacillin and cefoxitin. Our results provided evidence that methicillin-resistant staphylococci occur in dairy products in India with potential public health implications. The state with more intensive dairy systems (Haryana) had higher levels of methicillin-resistant bacteria in milk.