Ready-to-eat food sold in healthcare facilities could contribute to the increased disease burden of multidrug resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Food sold in healthcare facilities and environments are underestimated as sources of exposure of customers to potential pathogens. In the current study, we investigated the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in selected food items sold in two hospitals located in Benin City, Edo State, South-South Nigeria. A total of 100 food samples were obtained from food vendors and screened by pour plate method for the presence of heterotrophic bacterial and Staphylococcus aureus. Their antibiotic sensitivity patterns were determined by disc diffusion method and the presence of toxigenic and pathogenic genes by polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis. Majority of the food samples investigated harbored Staphylococcus aureus, with varying levels of antibiotics resistance pattern. Only 5 of the isolates were observed to be methicillin resistant, with only one harboring the mecA gene. The results of this study are an indication that methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus could be a source of contaminant in ready-to-eat food sold in hospital facilities, and effort must be taken to prevent the occurrence of diseases arising from their presence.

 Omoruyi Iyekhoetin Matthew and Ibegbulam Onyinyechi Sarah