Annals of Microbiology

, Volume 69, Issue 9, pp 923–931 | Cite as

Methicillin resistance and clonal diversity of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from nasal samples of healthy horses in Iran

  • Habib Dastmalchi SaeiEmail author
  • Elahe Safari
Original Article



The aims of the current study were to investigate the frequency and genetic diversity of Staphylococcus aureus from healthy horses, including both methicillin-resistant (MRSA) and -susceptible S. aureus (MSSA).


Three hundred-one nasal swabs were collected from healthy horses in three provinces, Iran. Sixty-one of the 301 tested samples contained S. aureus (20.3%), among which five were MRSA. Isolates were typed by spa PCR-RFLP and agr typing, followed by sequence-based spa typing and MLST on representative strains from each restriction pattern and SCCmec typing for MRSA strains. The presence of Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) encoding genes was also tested using PCR.


Eight distinct RFLP patterns (designated as N1-N8) were observed, with N2 (23/61; 37.7%) and N4 (18/61; 29.5%) the most common. On sequencing, N1-N8 patterns were found to be of clonal types ST15-t084, ST2151-t2484, ST291-t937, ST1-t127, and ST1-t1383, ST700-t11926, ST133-t1166, and ST1278-t12595, respectively. No PVL-positive S. aureus were detected. Five MRSA were identified as ST2151-t2484-SCCmecIVa (2 isolates), ST15-t084-SCCmecIVa, ST1-t1383-SCCmecIVa, and t12595-SCCmecIVa (one isolate each). Majority of S. aureus isolates were ascribed to agr types III (n = 30; 49.2%) and IV (n = 28; 45.9%), followed by types II (n = 2, 3.3%) and I (n = 1, 1.6%). The carriage of S. aureus was found to be associated with geographic locations.


This study for the first time describes the circulation of diverse clones of MSSA and MRSA among the Iranian horse population. This may pose a public health risk, which supports the need for their epidemiological monitoring.


Horse Methicillin resistant Nasal Clonal diversity S. aureus 



The authors are very grateful to Professor Alexander Mellmann from University of Münster, Institute of Hygiene, Germany, for conducting the BURP analysis. We are also thankful to Dr. M. Morovati, Dr. G. Jalilzadeh and Dr. S. Rostami for their help in sample collection, and Mrs. Mitra Panahi and Dr. S. Hosseinzadeh for technical assistance.

Funding information

The Research Deputy of Urmia University financially supported the current investigation.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study protocol was approved by the Urmia University Animal Ethics Committee (ethical clearance number 1241).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

Not applicable.

Informed consent

The authors confirm that this article’s content has no animal or human participants in research.


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Copyright information

© Università degli studi di Milano 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUrmia UniversityUrmiaIran

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