Friday, 1 May 2015

USA and Britain - Pigs, Pork & Diabetes

This is a massively important report from the ever reliable Tara Smith and associates.

It illustrates yet again the dangers from livestock related superbugs and how fast the USA is now drawing ahead of Defra dominated Britain with its constant denials and cover-ups of veterinary incompetence and bullying.

The shocking part for Britain is that there no surprises here for some of us.

Defra and its veterinarians have known about the dangers for years, and done nothing to help protect the farmers, public health and the hospitals.

You can be sure that the various diabetes' charities and organisations will be hot on devious Defra's tail. Many diabetic Britons will have a personal interest in getting this aired and those responsible for the problem investigated and removed from positions of authority.

On a personal note - The writer was campaigning on this long before becoming a type one diabetic. His diabetes was the consequence of an infection following pancreatic cancer and intensive care, so keeping diabetics clear of infections is well understood.

You should read the report in full here:

Study finds swine farming is a risk factor for drug-resistant staph infections

by Debra Venzke

A new Univ. of Iowa study reports swine farmers are six times more likely to have staph bacteria than others. Credit: Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Swine farmers are more likely to carry multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus or "staph") than people without current swine exposure, according to a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Iowa, Kent State University, and the National Cancer Institute.

The study, published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, is the largest prospective examination of S. aureus infection in a group of livestock workers worldwide, and the first such study in the United States...

...The study authors note the research helps keep farmers safe by raising awareness about a potential health issue in swine operations. S. aureus does not present an economic concern for swine farmers since pigs generally are unaffected by staph infections.

"S. aureus does not typically make pigs sick, but they can act as carriers and transmit the bacterium to farmers," says Tara Smith, corresponding author on the study. "While carriage of S. aureus isn't itself harmful, individuals who harbor the bacterium in their nose, throat, or on their skin are at risk of developing an active staph infection, and they can also pass the bacterium to other family or community members. Individuals who may be immunocompromised, or have existing conditions such as diabetes, are especially at risk from staph infections."...

..."Current swine workers were six times more likely to carry multidrug-resistant S. aureus than those study participants without current swine exposure," says Smith. The study is based on research that Smith, currently an associate professor at Kent State University, conducted while she was a faculty member at the UI College of Public Health.

"Swine workers are also at risk of becoming infected with these organisms," Smith adds. "One hundred and three potential S. aureus infections were reported, and included infections with livestock-associated strains of this bacterium."

There currently is no method to prevent or eliminate carriage of S. aureus in animals or their human caretakers, meaning constant re-exposure and possibly transmission can occur between livestock and farm workers. Those workers can then pass staph to their family or community members.

"Iowa ranks third nationally in overall livestock production and first in swine production," notes Smith. "Transmission of staph between pigs and farmers and into the broader community could complicate efforts to control S. aureus transmission statewide, and have effects nationally due to the travel of pigs and people carrying these bacteria."

Journal reference: Clinical Infectious Diseases
Provided by University of Iowa

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Chinese Inspectors Visit Northern Ireland Pork Processors

This story troubled the writer. He knew why, but had no solutions, but a good night's sleep put that right.

The problem: There is no better way to spread diseases all over the world than to allow globe-trotting veterinarians and inspectors to tramp from farm to farm.

China to Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland to China. Either direction, it is a massive risk. Boots and breath can both spread disease.

But the Chinese need to be sure that the product they are buying is clear of disease in a pig disease ridden world and Northern Ireland needs the exports.

We know that veterinary certificates of health are completely unreliable and often recklessly issued or faked. Buyer Beware!

So the buyer insists on dangerous self-defeating inspections. They have no option.

Catch 22.

But it isn't.

Once all British trade certificates and documentation were the gold standard of international trade. The writer knows, he made his living on the front line. Britain's reputation was the tops.

Since, veterinary rot and corruption set in - including Northern Ireland where some years ago a large number of veterinarians were very gently tapped on the wrist for faking it up.

They are still there, those that have not retired to the sun, doubtless  still as unreliable, pompous, determined and corrupt. We should not be surprised that we have a huge series of international scandals from superbugs to horsemeat.

The Solution: Crack down on veterinary corruption, by bringing the culprits before the courts - make British, Irish, Chinese - anyone who wants to trade in animals and animal products proud to use veterinary certification that is clean, reliable and safe.

Strike off any veterinarian recklessly issuing certification - put them out of business for good. If they did it deliberately, put them behind bars for fraud. They damage their country and their country's customers by sabotaging their trading reputation.

Make sure that the world, its people, have access to safe guaranteed meat. Clean up the veterinary industry. We want Britain to be in the lead, being the best, so that young veterinarians are so proud of their integrity, that they would be sure to stand behind what they sign.

Be sure to read the report, in full, here:

Chinese Inspectors Visit Northern Ireland Pork Processors

28 April 2015

...The Chinese Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) are visiting Northern Ireland this week to assess pork processing premises to export...

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Overweight? It could be livestock antibiotics.

A very good article from the USA covering an aspect of antibiotic misuse on livestock that is rarely mentioned, and lies in the shadow of the apparently much more serious superbug crisis: the meat also makes you fat.

There is also a good explanation why merely banning antibiotics to increase weight in animals won't work in the USA, any more than it has in Europe.

Just a few quotes to whet your appetite.

Be sure to read the whole here:

Antibiotic Overload: Experts Blame Livestock Use for Human Resistance, Even Obesity

By Stacy Finz

...“I’ve been surprised that this has been allowed to persist,” said panelist Michael Pollan, a UC Berkeley journalism professor and food activist. “It’s a public health threat.”

And that’ s not all. Panelist Dr. Lee Riley, a UC Berkeley professor of infectious diseases who has studied the issue, said he believes that antibiotic use in food animals could be contributing to the country’s obesity epidemic...

...“If it’s a growth promoter in livestock, what do you think it is in humans?” he asked...

... Maryn McKenna, a science journalist at work on a book chronicling the history of antibiotic use in livestock production...

...The livestock industry has said that it’s not opposed to reducing its use of human antibiotics, but wants the option to continue to use antimicrobials as a prophylactic. (It’s common practice for large livestock producers to put antibiotics in feed and water as a preventative measure against disease.) Some producers say their stock would die without it...

...Holland actually saw an increase after its ban because farmers used the prophylactic reason as a loophole, McKenna said. American politicians have repeatedly tried to pass strict legislation both federally and statewide that would ban any kind of use other than to treat a sick animal, but to no avail.

“Big ag and big pharm are powerful industries,” Pollan said...

... “What needs to be changed is animal husbandry.”...

Posted on April 22, 2015 - 11:58am

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mad Cow Disease In Texas Man Has Mysterious Origin

Many times, over the years we commented that the impact of Britain's epidemic of Mad Cow -  vCJD on the rest of the world had been badly under-reported in Britain.

It was played down at home, but made a much bigger impact than most Brits realised abroad.

Apparently a NPR (National Public Radio) report is now "trending" in the USA.

Britain still suffers from a total lack of integrity in Defra, originally the agricultural ministry Maff. Their appalling behaviour in the past comes back to haunt us years later in the USA.

The Phillips Enquiry, reporting just after FMD 2001, despite censuring some politicians, hardly inspired confidence. The government veterinarians had amnesia when testifying. They were not under oath.

The whitewash may well be coming back to haunt Britain's veterinary establishment.  Animal feed and, this time the antibiotics added and under what authority, is coming to the fore again in the superbug crisis.

Here is Texas, be sure to read the whole article, here.

Mad Cow Disease In Texas Man Has Mysterious Origin

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Michaeleen Doucleff / NPR

...How did a rare disease linked to contaminated beef in the U.K. more
than a decade ago get to a Texas man?...

... And from 1980 to 1996, the U.K. continued to export contaminated
beef around the world. More than 200 people in 12 countries died from
mad cow disease...

... And the U.S. didn't import contaminated beef from the U.K...

Saturday, 18 April 2015

China - Porcine Circovirus and Hepatitis E as co-infections in Pigs

More confirmation of the consequences of co-infections involving these particular viruses.

The writer has long claimed Porcine Circovirus (PCV2) as the grand-daddy of most of the constant problems in pig health spreading serious disease to people.

We do, of course, have both Circovirus and HEV (Hepatitis E) in the UK, in both pigs and people, and this blog has been commenting on both for many years. You can find hundreds of posts. here and thousands elsewhere.

Hepatitis E is, of course, a very real human risk and has been both reported in pig farmers in Cornwall and known to be carried by some veterinarians, for many years.

We continue to be amazed that the veterinarians are so relaxed about carrying a disease that is especially dangerous to pregnant women and children: the power of self-deception, and constant self-promoting public relations, we suppose. Public relations is a more powerful drug on those benefiting, than those targeted.

The TV programme "All Creatures Great and Small," and dozens of similar programmes lauding veterinarians have a lot to answer for, in a world sinking into a morass of zoonotic disease stalking humanity, homes and hospitals.

Anyway, the Chinese are picking up on the connections between two different viruses in pigs, be sure to read the full Pig333 report here.

Fatal disease associated with Swine Hepatitis E virus and Porcine circovirus 2 co-infection in four weaned pigs in China


Yifei Yang, et al. Fatal disease associated with Swine Hepatitis E virus and Porcine circovirus 2 co-infection in four weaned pigs in China. BMC Veterinary Research 2015, 11:77 doi:10.1186/s12917-015-0375-z

In recent decades, Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) infection has been recognized as the causative agent of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, and has become a threat to the swine industry. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is another high prevalent pathogen in swine in many regions of the world. PCV2 and HEV are both highly prevalent in pig
farms in China...

...HEV and PCV2 co-infection in piglets was detected in four out of seven dead pigs from two pig farms in Hebei, China, producing severe pathological changes. The natural co-infection of HEV and PCV2 in pigs in China has rarely been reported. We speculate that co-infection with PCV2 and HEV may bring some negative effect on pig production and recommend that more attention should be paid to this phenomenon.

Friday, 17 April 2015

British Election & MRSA in pigs

For the first time, MRSA is being seriously aired in the UK General Election Campaign by Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party - UKIP at the debate on TV last night.

It was not a particularly interesting or incisive comment, and aimed against the Labour Party, but it is an issue that could explode, especially if Farage takes a more serious interest.

We all know that some of the central issues for this election include the NHS, UK membership of the EU, and Scotland leaving the UK.

Farage stands directly opposite the Scottish National Party on pretty well all issues, with both leaders undeniably personally popular and both likely to be influential whatever the exact result.

Scotland is one of the very few countries in the world supposed to be free of MRSA in its pigs.

Nobody believes them. If they were free of MRSA, they would be shouting it from the rooftops as a triumph for Scottish science. That is undeniable. They also have a very poor record on other zoonotic public health issues.

If UKIP decide to raise the issue, and the implications for the rest of the UK, it is going to be very hard for the Scottish Nationalists to handle.

They won't be able to say with any credibility "We haven't found any MRSA in our pigs." and be taken seriously after the election.

Watch this space.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

USA - Whole-Genome Sequencing - Consequences for Cover-Ups

On Monday we were writing about the extraordinary story of finding and identifying the body of King Richard lll, the repercussion of modern testing techniques, and also praising the Italians on similar work on Porcine Circovirus.

We developed the implications for the covered-up epidemic of Circovirus in pigs (PCV2) in England before 2000, and, in turn, its significance to the CSF and FMD epidemics that followed and also to the superbug crisis currently plaguing the world.

Now the USA leaps into the picture, in their own way, developing similar implications in  a paper published yesterday by the American Society for Microbiology.

Leaving aside the potential for bio-terrorism, bio-corruption, deception and incompetence can also be traced to source using exactly the same tools - and are being so deployed.

The days of hiding up animal disease epidemics dangerous to humans are not only over, but past sources will be revealed, and culprits exposed.

The net is closing about some very uneasy consciences.

Extract from the abstract and access to the full paper here.

Whole-Genome Sequencing in Outbreak Analysis

Published 15 April 2015

...Utilization of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) in outbreak analysis
facilitates the rapid and accurate identification of virulence factors
of the pathogen and can be used to identify the path of disease
transmission within a population and provide information on the
probable source. Molecular tools such as WGS are being refined and
advanced at a rapid pace to provide robust and higher-resolution
methods for identifying, comparing, and classifying pathogenic
organisms. If these methods of pathogen characterization are properly
applied, they will enable an improved public health response whether a
disease outbreak was initiated by natural events or by accidental or
deliberate human activity. The current application of next-generation
sequencing (NGS) technology to microbial WGS and microbial forensics
is reviewed...

  • Citation Gilchrist CA, Turner SD, Riley MF, Petri WA, Jr, Hewlett EL. 15 April 2015. Whole-genome sequencing in outbreak analysis. Clin Microbiol Rev doi:10.1128/CMR.00075-13.