Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus isolates in milk and the milking environment from small-scale dairy farms of São Paulo, Brazil, using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis
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This research aimed to evaluate the occurrence of Staphylococcus aureus isolates in milk and in the milking environment of 10 small-scale farms (<400 L/d) located in the regions of Franca and Ribeirao Preto, state of São Paulo, Brazil. Two-hundred twenty samples of milk were collected from individual cows, along with 120 samples from bulk tank milk, 389 samples from milking equipment and utensils (teat cups, buckets, and sieves), and 120 samples from milkers' hands. Fifty-six Staph. aureus strains were isolated from 849 analyzed samples (6.6%): 12 (5.5%) from milk samples of individual cows, 26 (21.7%) from samples of bulk tank milk, 14 (3.6%) from samples collected from equipment and utensils, and 4 (3.3%) from samples from milkers' hands. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing of the 56 Staph. aureus isolates by SmaI restriction enzyme resulted in 31 profiles (pulsotypes) arranged in 12 major clusters. Results of this study indicate a low incidence, but wide distribution of Staph. aureus strains isolated from raw milk collected from individual cows and surfaces of milkers' hands and milking equipment in the small-scale dairy farms evaluated. However, the high percentage of bulk milk samples found with Staph. aureus is of public health concern because raw, unprocessed milk is regularly consumed by the Brazilian population.