Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) at ambient freshwater beaches

Journal of Water and Health
By: , and 



Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a threat to human health worldwide, and although detected at marine beaches, they have been largely unstudied at freshwater beaches. Genes indicating S. aureus (SA; femA) and methicillin resistance (mecA) were detected at 11 and 12 of 13 US Great Lakes beaches and in 18% or 27% of 287 recreational water samples, respectively. Eight beaches had mecA + femA (potential MRSA) detections. During an intensive study, higher bather numbers, staphylococci concentrations, and femA detections were found in samples collected after noon than before noon. Local population density, beach cloud cover, and beach wave height were significantly correlated with SA or MRSA detection frequency. The Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene, associated with community-acquired MRSA, was detected in 12 out of 27 potential MRSA samples. The femA gene was detected less frequently at beaches that met US enterococci criteria or EU enterococci ‘excellent’ recreational water quality, but was not related to Escherichia coli-defined criteria. Escherichia coli is often the only indicator used to determine water quality at US beaches, given the economic and healthcare burden that can be associated with infections caused by SA and MRSA, monitoring of recreational waters for non-fecal bacteria such as staphylococci and/or SA may be warranted.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) at ambient freshwater beaches
Series title Journal of Water and Health
DOI 10.2166/wh.2014.278
Volume 13
Issue 3
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher IWA Publishing
Contributing office(s) Michigan Water Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 680
Last page 692
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details