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1.  Transmission of MRSA between Companion Animals and Infected Human Patients Presenting to Outpatient Medical Care Facilities 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e26978.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a significant pathogen in both human and veterinary medicine. The importance of companion animals as reservoirs of human infections is currently unknown. The companion animals of 49 MRSA-infected outpatients (cases) were screened for MRSA carriage, and their bacterial isolates were compared with those of the infected patients using Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE). Rates of MRSA among the companion animals of MRSA-infected patients were compared to rates of MRSA among companion animals of pet guardians attending a “veterinary wellness clinic” (controls). MRSA was isolated from at least one companion animal in 4/49 (8.2%) households of MRSA-infected outpatients vs. none of the pets of the 50 uninfected human controls. Using PFGE, patient-pets MRSA isolates were identical for three pairs and discordant for one pair (suggested MRSA inter-specie transmission p-value = 0.1175). These results suggest that companion animals of MRSA-infected patients can be culture-positive for MRSA, representing a potential source of infection or re-infection for humans. Further studies are required to better understand the epidemiology of MRSA human-animal inter-specie transmission.
PMCID: PMC3213111  PMID: 22102871
2.  Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus between Human and Hamster▿ 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2011;49(4):1679-1680.
Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) between humans and animals is increasingly recognized. We newly document that the transmission of MRSA between human and hamster is possible.
PMCID: PMC3122837  PMID: 21325561
3.  Proof of concept of a method that assesses the spread of microbial infections with spatially explicit and non-spatially explicit data 
A method that assesses bacterial spatial dissemination was explored. It measures microbial genotypes (defined by electrophoretic patterns or EP), host, location (farm), interfarm Euclidean distance, and time. Its proof of concept (construct and internal validity) was evaluated using a dataset that included 113 Staphylococcus aureus EPs from 1126 bovine milk isolates collected on 23 farms between 1988 and 2005.
Construct validity was assessed by comparing results based on the interfarm Euclidean distance (a spatially explicit measure) and those produced by the (non-spatial) interfarm number of isolates reporting the same EP. The distance associated with EP spread correlated with the interfarm number of isolates/EP (r = .59, P < 0.02). Internal validity was estimated by comparing results obtained with different versions of the same indices. Concordance was observed between: (a) EP distance (estimated microbial dispersal over space) and EP speed (distance/year, r = .72, P < 0.01), and (b) the interfarm number of isolates/EP (when measured on the basis of non-repeated cow testing) and the same measure as expressed by repeated testing of the same animals (r = .87, P < 0.01). Three EPs (2.6% of all EPs) appeared to be super-spreaders: they were found in 26.75% of all isolates. Various indices differentiated local from spatially disseminated infections and, within the local type, infections suspected to be farm-related were distinguished from cow-related ones.
Findings supported both construct and internal validity. Because 3 EPs explained 12 times more isolates than expected and at least twice as many isolates as other EPs did, false negative results associated with the remaining EPs (those erroneously identified as lacking spatial dispersal when, in fact, they disseminated spatially), if they occurred, seemed to have negligible effects. Spatial analysis of laboratory data may support disease surveillance systems by generating hypotheses on microbial dispersal ability.
PMCID: PMC2613142  PMID: 19017406
4.  Relationships between the phagocytic ability of milk macrophages and polymorphonuclear cells and somatic cell counts in uninfected cows 
Phagocyte numbers and activities were compared in milk from 2 groups of uninfected mammary-gland quarters from 3 cows each: 6 quarters with a high (≥ 200 000/mL) somatic cell concentration (SCC), analyzed as 4 individual quarters and 1 pooled sample; and 12 quarters with a low SCC (< 200 000/mL), analyzed as 6 paired samples. The concentrations and ability of macrophages and polymorphonuclear (PMN) cells to phagocytize fluorescent microspheres were determined by flow cytometry after exposure of the cells to the microspheres. The macrophages and PMNs contained 2 major subpopulations, characterized by low phagocytic (LP) or high phagocytic (HP) ability. The quarters with high SCCs had significantly lower percentages of HP cells than did the quarters with low SCCs (P < 0.01). Whether mammary-gland quarters or cows were the unit of analysis, the HP/LP ratio was negatively related to the SCC (P < 0.04), which explained more than 50% of the SCC variability. Thus, poor bovine mammary-gland phagocytic ability may be associated with high SCC. Longitudinal studies are suggested to further explore and characterize these relationships.
PMCID: PMC1325098  PMID: 16548336

Results 1-4 (4)