A review of horses as a source of spreading livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to human health

Aswin Rafif Khairullah, Sri Agus Sudjarwo, Mustofa Helmi Effendi, Sancaka Chasyer Ramandinianto, Agus Widodo, Katty Hendriana Priscilia Riwu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) was first discovered in horses in 1989. Since then, LA-MRSA has begun to be considered an important strain of pathogenic bacteria in horses, which can cause LA-MRSA infection and colonization in humans with public health impacts. The anterior nares are the primary site of LA-MRSA colonization in horses, although LA-MRSA colonization may also occur in the gastrointestinal tract in horses. LA-MRSA-infected horses typically exhibit clinical infection or may not exhibit clinical infection. There are two potential risks associated with LA-MRSA colonization in horses: The possibility of disease development in horses infected with LA-MRSA and the possibility of LA-MRSA transfer to humans and other horses. The diagnosis of LA-MRSA in horses can be made by conducting in vitro sensitivity testing for oxacillin and cefoxitin, and then followed by a molecular test using polymerase chain reaction. LA-MRSA transmission in animal hospitals and on farms is most likely due to contact with horses infected or colonized by LA-MRSA. The history of prior antibiotic administration, history of prior LA-MRSA colonization, and length of equine hospitalization were described as risk factors in cases of infection and colonization of LA-MRSA in horses. Nebulized antibiotics may be a viable alternative to use in horses, but nebulized antibiotics are only used in horses that are persistently colonized with LA-MRSA. Controlling the spread of LA-MRSA in horses can be done by regularly washing horses, eradicating vectors in horse stalls such as rats, and maintaining the cleanliness of the stable and animal hospital environment. Meanwhile, cleaning hands, using gloves, and donning protective clothes are ways that humans can prevent the transmission of LA-MRSA when handling horses. This review will explain the definition of LA-MRSA in general, LA-MRSA in horses, the epidemiology of LA-MRSA in horses, the diagnosis of LA-MRSA in horses, the transmission of LA-MRSA in horses, risk factors for spreading LA-MRSA in horses, public health impact, treatment of LA-MRSA infection in horses, and control of the spread of LA-MRSA in horses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1906-1915
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary World
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • horse
  • public health
  • risk factors


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