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German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment
German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Norwegian Veterinary Institute
2022 - 2025
Use of phage applications to combat MRSA at the sow-piglet interface to reduce exposure of staff and contamination of the environment
The main risk factors for human carriage of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isdirect contact with colonised animals or a contaminated environment and airborne exposure. Sows are the topof the pig production pyramid and when colonised, are a permanent source of MRSA further down the production pyramid. However, an all-in all-out strategy with efficient cleaning and disinfection is not economically feasible in breeding units. This study therefore aims at breaking the infection cycle through raising MRSA-negative piglets from positive sows to reduce the infectious pressure in the production chain and associated human and environmental exposure.Interventions will be applied to reduce MRSA directly at the mother-offspring interface by using farm-specific phage-cocktails in sows and piglets. MRSA reduction will be studied by repeated sampling of sows and piglets. The impact ofthe phage treatment on the microbiome dynamics and specifically on MRSA in animals, the environment and in bioaerosols including exposure of farm staff will be investigated by meta-omics approaches. The impact of the phage application on the prevalence of MRSA in pigs, herds receiving breeding pigs and the effect on the colonisation of farm staff and public health will be investigated by modelling. Phage application is expected to support “one health” by reducing MRSA in the animal population and consequently reducing exposure of farm staff and environmental contamination.