The Rise of MRSA in Pigs and the Health Risk to Humans
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 by: Kathlyn Stone
Source of Article: http://www.naturalnews.com/023725.html
(NaturalNews) Numerous researchers in other countries have
been reporting results on the prevalence of methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pigs and the risk of
human contraction. But no
But recently, researchers with the epidemiology department at the
Of the 200 pigs tested in the
MRSA infections come in two forms -- hospital acquired, HA-MRSA, and community acquired, CA-MRSA. People with weakened immune systems and the elderly are at most risk of HA-MRSA, according to the Mayo Clinic. CA-MRSA is responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia.
According to a study published in the June issue of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, "Screening of pig farmers and pigs in The Netherlands has revealed that >20% of pig farmers and 39% of slaughterhouse pigs are positive for an unusual strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) belonging to sequence type (ST) 398. It is now clear that the emergence of ST398 is not just a Dutch problem, with human infections being described in several European countries,
At least three people in
"The recent wave of MRSA-related illnesses and deaths among otherwise healthy students and athletes is very troubling. We need to determine as soon as possible whether some of those illnesses and deaths are traceable to the overuse of antibiotics on swine farms," said Margaret Mellon, director of Union of Concerned Scientist's Food and Environment Program in a prepared statement.
The U.S. testing of swine for MRSA would -- under better circumstances -- fall under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture but that agency is already under heavy fire for its negligent monitoring of cattle for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly referred to as "mad cow disease" and other pathogens. A USDA official told the
No other federal agency, including the Food and Drug Administration, has shared any results of screening tests.
Meanwhile, the National Pork Board has said the accumulating data on MRSA and pork is "scare-mongering" and that there is "no need to avoid pork consumption or worry that pigs could make you sick as a result of MRSA."
Kathlyn Stone is an independent journalist in
covering health care news and policies for public and professional audiences. St. Paul, MN
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