Widespread in the environment, Staphylococcus spp. infect animals and humans as normal flora or pathogens. By extending our recent report of multi-drug resistant (MDR) S. aureus in dairy goats, this study investigated the staphylococcal infection and characterized the MDR-S. aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates collected from goats in 2008 to elucidate the appearance of MRSA in goats and the mastitis associated staphylococcus enterotoxin (SE) types. A total of 555 samples were collected from six goat parts and three environmental sources among four dairy goat farms in southern Taiwan. Coagulase-positive and negative Staphylococcus spp. (CPS and CNS, respectively) were also identified. Furthermore, predominant SE genes of nine enterotoxin genes sea through sej along with antimicrobial resistance and genetic variations were determined.
In total, 137 staphylococcal strains were identified and found predominantly in milk, and in the vagina, anus, and nasal cavity. The most prevalent species was S. lentus, followed by S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and S. xylosus. Enterotoxin genes were not identified in any CNS isolates, however sec and see were identified only in S. aureus associated with mastitis in goat. In compared to the isolates from 2006 to 2007, 27 S. aureus isolates from 2008 were found to be more resistant to ampicillin, cephalothin, oxacillin, oxytetracycline, penicillin G, and tetracycline. Eleven MRSA isolates were identified and belonged to SCCmec type III (nine isolates) as the major type and SCCmec type II (two isolates). These MRSA isolates revealed pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern A (five isolates), C (one isolate), and D (one isolate) of human isolates. The other two isolates without pulsotypes belonged to ST59.
The prevalence and infection sites of CNS differed from those of CPS. Genetic analyses indicated that genetic divergence, possible zoonotic transfer of MRSA, and the involvement of sec as important virulence factors for of S. aureus that lead to mastitis in goats.