Antibiotic susceptibility and resistance of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from fresh porcine skin xenografts: risk to recipients with thermal injury

Stacey-Ann Busby, Andrew Robb, Sue Lang, Yasu Takeuchi, Pavel Vesely, Linda Scobie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The previous use of fresh porcine xenografts at the Prague Burn Centre had raised concerns over the transmission of zoonotic pathogens. This study examines the risk of zoonotic Staphylococcus aureus colonisation of burn patients from fresh porcine skin xenografts.

Samples were collected from the nares, skin and perineum of commercial pigs (n = 101) and were screened for methicillin sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The efficacy of the antibiotic wash used in decontamination of the pigskin was tested against planktonic- and biofilm-grown isolates. The spa type of each isolate was also confirmed.

All pig swabs were negative for MRSA but 86% positive for MSSA. All planktonic-grown isolates of MSSA were sensitive to chloramphenicol and nitrofurantoin and 44% of isolates were resistant to streptomycin. Isolates grown as biofilm exhibited higher rates of antimicrobial resistance. Sequence analysis revealed three distinct spa types of the MRSA ST398 clonal type.

This finding demonstrates the existence of a MSSA reservoir containing spa types resembling those of well-known MRSA strains. These MSSA exhibit resistance to antibiotics used for decontamination of the pigskin prior to xenograft. Amended use of procurement could allow the use of fresh pigskin xenografts to be reinstated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-294
Number of pages7
Issue number2
Early online date10 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014



  • porcine skin xenografts
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • antibiotic resistance
  • burns patients

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