A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Fri 6 Mar 2009
Source: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report 2009; 58(08):194-198 [edited]

Methicillin-resistant _Staphylococcus aureus_ (MRSA) infections are a
major cause of human skin and soft tissue infections in the United
(1). MRSA colonization and infection also have been observed in
turtles, bats, seals, sheep, rabbits, rodents, cats, dogs, pigs,
birds, horses, and cattle (2--8), and MRSA infections with an
epidemiologic link to animal contact have been reported in veterinary
personnel, pet owners, and farm animal workers (5,7,8).

On 29 Jan 2008, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services
Agency was notified of skin pustules on an African elephant
(_Loxodonta africana_) calf and 3 of its caretakers at a zoo in San
Diego County. After each of these infections (including the calf's
infection) was laboratory confirmed as MRSA, an outbreak investigation
and response was initiated by the zoo and the agency. This report
summarizes the results of that investigation, which identified 2
additional confirmed MRSA infections, 15 suspected MRSA infections,
and 3 MRSA-colonized persons (all among calf caretakers), and
concluded that infection of the elephant calf likely came from a
colonized caretaker.

This is the 1st reported case of MRSA in an elephant and of suspected
MRSA transmission from an animal to human caretakers at a zoo.

[Voluminous further details, and the 10 refs., may be found at the
source URL. - Mod.JW]

Note: Caretakers blew air with their unmasked mouths into the calf's
trunk to stimulate bottle feeding (its mother had died).