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Mammals (other)
Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) associated dolphin mortality and the subsequent facility decolonisation protocol


This case reports the presence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in a colony of cetaceans maintained under human care. MRSA isolates of the same strain were cultured from multiple organs of two dolphins that died with septicaemia. Following these mortalities and in consideration of the zoonotic potential of this pathogen, a decolonisation protocol was developed and applied to reduce the risk of exposure to humans and animals. After monitoring for MRSA presence in the animals, environment and staff, a strict sanitation protocol was applied for 15 months, with the aim of controlling MRSA. This protocol reduced the incidence of this pathogen and its involvement in acute clinical cases. The transmission between cetaceans and the implication of human reservoirs are discussed as important issues for veterinarians, facility managers and public health officials.

  • infectious diseases
  • microbiology
  • environmental
  • cetaceans
  • decolonisation
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