Surveillance of antibiotic resistance of maltose-negative staphylococcus aureus in South African dairy herds

18 Feb 2021

Antibiotic resistance has been reported since the 1940s in both human and veterinary medicine. Many years of monitoring milk samples in South Africa led to identification of a novel maltose-negative Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) strain, which appears to be an emerging pathogen. In this study, the susceptibility of this strain to antibiotics was evaluated over time, during diverse seasons in various provinces and according to somatic cell count (SCC) categories. A data set of 271 maltose-negative S. aureus isolates, from milk samples of 117 dairy herds, was examined using the disk diffusion method, between 2010 and 2017. This study also compared the susceptibility testing of 57 maltose-negative and 57 maltose-positive S. aureus isolated from 38 farms, from three provinces using minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). The MIC results for the maltose-negative S. aureus isolates showed highest resistance to ampicillin (100%) and penicillin (47.4) and lowest resistance (1.8%) to azithromycin, ciprofloxacin and erythromycin. The maltose-negative S. aureus isolates showed overall significantly increased antibiotic resistance compared to the maltose-positive strains, as well as multidrug resistance. Producers and veterinarians should consider probability of cure of such organisms (seemingly non-chronic) when adapting management and treatment, preventing unnecessary culling.