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and carriage of plasmids.
Design: A random sampling of milk and meat samples was carried out.
Setting: Milk was collected from various dairy co-operative societies in Nairobi and Kiambu districts. Minced meat samples were purchased from various outlets in the city of Nairobi.
Subjects: Ninety six Staphylococcus aureus isolates from milk (seventy five isolates) and minced meat (twenty one isolates) samples.
Main outcome measures: Plasmid profiles and antimicrobial susceptibility tests to ampicillin, lincomycin, penicillin, erythromycin, methicillin, minocycline, cotrimoxazole and chloramphenicol.
Results: Seventy one per cent of the isolates carried between one and six plasmids of molecular sizes ranging from 0.1 to 14.5 kilobases. High frequency of resistance was observed with lincomycin (67.7%), penicillin (66.7%) and cotrimoxazole (51%). A high percentage (76%) of isolates were susceptible to minocycline followed by erythromycin
(57.3%). Most (80.2%) of isolates were multiply resistant to between two and six antibiotics.
Conclusion: Most Staphylococcus aureus isolates were multiply resistant to various antimicrobial agents, but there was no apparent relationship between carriage of plasmids and antimicrobial resistance. Milk and meat may contain resistant Staphylococcus aureus
posing a potential risk to consumers.