Had the question been worded slightly differently, they would have been forced to admit that MRSA st398 has been found in Scotland in children a couple of years ago and was covered up for 6 months. They went so far as to say they could find no connection with pigs, when they did own up.
Another wording would have produced the answer that st398 had been found in England in unspecified livestock more than five years ago. Presumably, Defra do know the difference between poultry, pigs and cattle, but do not want to tell us.
So, our hospitals still have not introduced the eminently sensible and proven precautions adopted by the Dutch more than five years ago, when they bravely flew to the USA and told the world that their pigs were carrying MRSA and that veterinarians, pig and pork workers were a danger to themselves, their families and their hospitals.
It isn't complicated - and it is the worst scandal for many years. It will break over the heads of those that conspired to keep it secret.
Asked by Lord Hylton
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any connection between animal and human strains of MRSA; and whether they will consider the experience of the Netherlands in that matter. [HL360]
Baroness Thornton: The majority of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are due to healthcare-associated strains. However, given experience in the Netherlands and elsewhere the Health Protection Agency asks diagnostic laboratories to send it unusual isolates from people with a farming association for further investigation. No cases of the pig-related strain ST398 have been reported in England. The Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections continue to keep developments in relation to human and animal strains of MRSA under review.