Prevalence of Clostridium difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus throughout the pork production chain

Thumbnail Image



Hawken, Philip

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Guelph


Incidences of community-associated (CA) 'Clostridium difficile' and methicillin-resistant 'Staphylococcus aureus ' (MRSA) infection are increasing, Some suspicions suggest foodborne or zoonotic transmission could be linked to these incidences. This thesis investigated the prevalence of both bacteria in the pork production chain from farm to slaughterhouse. Results showed a high prevalence of both pathogens in pigs during the early production phase which decreased by market age. ' C. difficile' recovery was high in the holding area, but only sporadic on carcasses at slaughterhouses. Nasal carriage of MRSA was high at slaughter, but carcass contamination was low. 'C. difficile' was recovered from pig farm manure and manure-amended soil. The pathogen was also 'recovered from a nearby river and lake, but lake isolated ribotypes differed from farm ribotypes. The results suggest cross-contamination of these bacteria to carcasses is low during slaughterhouse processing. Therefore, other sources of these pathogens may be more important in CA infection.



community-associated, Clostridium difficile, methicillin-resistant, Staphylococcus aureus, infection, bacteria, pork production chain, prevalence, pathogens, pigs, slaughterhouse processing