Saturday, 28 August 2010

MRSA - From Vets to Pets

We have seen these reports before elsewhere, but the following Pro Med extract helps underline something pretty important:

Veterinarians can spread MRSA to animals.

The veterinary industry everywhere likes to associate this with people giving it to pets.

Indeed, the British government vets conspired across the Atlantic to makes this a joint Public Relations objective. They made the mistake of publishing the minutes of the phone conferences.

They prefer not to talk about veterinarians moving from farm to farm giving it to livestock.

The vets don’t even like to think about taking home MRSA and other superbugs and giving them to their kids.

Difficult subjects, difficult problems, but not something that can be avoided in Britain, merely because some veterinarians are making fortunes from drug dealing aided by corruption in the agricultural ministry Defra.

Clin Med Res. 2010 Aug 25. [Epub ahead of print]

Evidence of Multiple Virulence Subtypes in Nosocomial and Community-Associated MRSA Genotypes in Companion Animals from the Upper Midwestern and Northeastern United States.

Lin Y, Barker E, Kislow J, Kaldhone P, Stemper ME, Moore FM, Hall M, Fritsche TR, Novicki T, Shukla SK.

* Molecular Microbiology Laboratory, Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, Marshfield, Wisconsin, USA.


Objective Not much is known about the zoonotic transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in companion animals in the United States. We report the rate of prevalence of S. aureus and MRSA recovered from clinical samples of animals requiring treatment at veterinary clinics throughout the upper midwestern and northeastern United States. Design We compared phenotypes, genotypes, and virulence profiles of the MRSA isolates identified in cats, dogs, horses, pigs, etc., with typical human nosocomial and community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) genotypes to assess implied zoonotic transmission or zooanthroponosis. Five hundred thirty-three coagulase positive staphylococci (CPS) isolates recovered between 2006 and 2008 from a variety of animal-source samples were screened for S. aureus by S. aureus-specific 16S rDNA primers and for methicillin-resistance. All MRSA isolates were genotypes by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and spa typing. They were also screened for common staphylococcal enterotoxin toxin and adhesion genes by multiplex and singleplex PCR. Results Among the 533 CPS isolates recovered, 66 (12.4%) were determined to be S. aureus and 24 (4.5%) were MRSA. The percent of animals that were positive for S. aureus were as follows: 6.6% (32 of 487) dogs, 39.6% (19 of 48) cats, 83.3% (10 of 12) horses, and 100% of pigs, rabbit, hamster and rat. Notably, 36.4% of all S. aureus identified were MRSA. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus was present in clinical samples from 12 of 487 dogs (2.5%), six of 48 cats (12.5%), five of 12 horses (42%), and one of two pigs. The 24 MRSA isolates resolved into four PFGE clones (USA100 (50%), USA300 (16.7%), USA500 (20.8%) and USA800 (12.5%) and six sequence types (ST5, ST8, ST105, ST830, and ST986) or two clonal complexes, CC5 and CC8. Five major virulence profiles (clusters A to E) were observed in these MRSA isolates. Genotypic and virulence profiles of cats and dogs were more similar to each other than to those of horses. A Panton-Valentine leukocidin positive isolate with ST8:USA300 was identified in a pig causing skin and soft infection. Conclusion The presence of human MRSA clones in these animals suggests possible reverse zoonotic transmission. This study reports the first case of a USA300 genotype in a pig. Presence of multiple virulence profile within a MRSA genotype suggests the potential of emergence of new MRSA clones by gaining or losing additional virulence genes.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

MRSA From Pigs to People: The Emergence of a New Superbug

A decade long battle is very much over. It is now widely known that British pigs are sick and still being stuffed with antibiotics, after a decade of ridiculous babyish cover-ups and cover stories.

There are risks to humans, especially, ironically, to the veterinarians.

Science is still trying to come to terms with the obvious: things are bad and getting worse.

The only dispute is how bad, and how much worse.

In the meantime, Britain’s vets carry on prescribing vast quantities of antibiotics into pigs that they insist are healthy. They then export the problem.

They remain protected and encouraged by a hopelessly corrupt and useless British State Veterinary Service, too scared to admit what they have done.

Some know they face prosecution before international courts and have frozen in the face of the horror of guilt.

We can all understand the terror that they must feel.

It would be easier to sympathise when they admit what they have done and start putting things right.

Science 27 August 2010
Vol. 329. no. 5995, pp. 1010 - 1011

DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5995.1010

From Pigs to People: The Emergence of a New Superbug

Dan Ferber

The discovery of a novel strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) able to jump from livestock to humans has sparked a multicountry effort to see how dangerous it might be. So far, the worst fears about the strain have not been realized. It did jump from pigs to people, scientists determined through gumshoe detective work. And it has caused serious disease—although rarely—among farmers and veterinarians who work with pigs and other livestock, and their families, although most of them carry the microbe harmlessly in their noses. But it doesn't appear to be readily transmissible between humans, so the chance of a broad community epidemic seems low. However, MRSA readily mixes and matches genes with other bacteria that make it more virulent, more transmissible, and harder to treat—and this newly emerged strain could take that route too.

Hepatitis E in veterinarians and pork

Veterinarians worldwide are having a difficult time, especially those handling pigs.

Pigs are generally now very diseased and the situation is getting worse by the day.

We have known since last year that many veterinarians involved with pigs were infected with Hepatitis E

Pigs play a role with Hepatitis E spread
17 Nov 2009
...Research to antibodies in veterinarians and a representative number of members of the public showed that among the vets working intensively with pigs was the highest percentage of infected people (11%). ...
But it was not clear from where the pigs were getting the disease.

Now, we also find from France that pig liver can infect anyone eating it without thorough cooking

French delicacy linked to hepatitis E
Wednesday 25 August 2010
French delicacy linked to hepatitis E

...Authorities add warning label to pig liver sausage, calling for thorough cooking to combat virus risk.

A sausage containing pig livers, commonly eaten in the southeast of France and the island of Corsica, could be infecting people with the hepatitis E virus, health scientists warn this month online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. In the study, they link cases of hepatitis E from three separate outbreaks to the consumption of the French delicacy figetellu...

C. Diff in pigs and people - more investigations

Those of you who read me on the newsgroup will know that I have long added the following to my signature :

“Release and independently audit the results of testing British pigs for MRSA and C.Diff now!”

C.Diff was added some years ago, when pretty much alone, I began to suspect that there was some connection between the rise in C.Diff deaths in British hospitals and pig production.

C.Difficile has again hit the veterinary headlines with a major new study of the disease in pigs emerging in Canada and being reported in the Netherlands:

Clostridium difficile shedding in piglets investigated

A longitudinal study of Clostridium difficile colonization in piglets was performed on a conventional swine farm in Ontario, Canada...The decline in prevalence over time may also have implications on public health concerns, since colonization rates of animals at the time of slaughter are presumably more relevant than those earlier in life.
The writer has long campaigned on the issue of C.Diff reaching the human population from infected pigs.

New dangerous strains have emerged in antibiotic fed environments and caused human deaths -

C.Difficile in pigs and people - investigation  detailing the Dutch investigations

In humans, this type of Clostridium mainly occurs with people who have been consuming a lot of antibiotics, causing a balance disruption in the gastro-intestinal tract. "We suspect that in pig production, there is also a link between the use of antibiotics and the prevention of C. difficile," Kuijper said.  

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

MRSA in Pigs - where are we today?

"What you don't look for properly, you don't find."

The vets are attempting an embarrassed defence of the poor late testing of British pigs for MRSA following criticism.

Hidden within and behind the defence is a clear admission that the claim that Britain has no MRSA st398 in its pigs is founded on less than the best sampling.

Not only did the British government not rush to do the sampling, it had to be ordered by the EU, but Britain also delayed publishing the results claiming no MRSA in British pigs.

They still claim there is no MRSA in British pigs.

According to the vets, the test used, on dust rather then pigs, was adequate and to have done it better would have cost more money.

In the same article it admits that 45 percent of vets at a conference were carrying MRSA but only 9 percent of their families were the same. Would anyone like to go home with that story?

There is also an explanation showing how MRSA travels from one herd to another. Has the export and import of pigs stopped?

There a clear acceptance that MRSA in pigs is a risk to vets, pig farmers and meat workers. 

Which rather confirms the point that poor late testing, with late reporting of the results by unenthusiastic government veterinarians is a scandal that is going to take rather better explanations.

The pigs have been sick for ten years and fed bucketfuls of antibiotics at the considerable profit of the prescribing vets to deal with the consequences of cirocvirus epidemics.

Does anyone seriously believe that Britain could possibly be clear of the MRSA in pigs sweeping the world?

Proper large scale testing could, and should, have been done years earlier and reported promptly.

To have done otherwise is not fair on the farmers, the meat workers, public health, trading partners and even the veterinarians' own families.

MRSA in pigs – where are we today?

...Some lobbyist organisations have criticised the results, especially for the UK being zero, saying the sampling method from pooled house dust was not accurate enough and that individual, nasal swabs should have been used. This would have added a significant cost to the whole exercise and also Schulz and others (2010) at the IPVS showed that pooled dust samples were 78% accurate in comparison with nasal swabs for the isolation of MRSA, thereby confirming the relative accuracy of the test and the validity of the result...

Porcine Circovirus - the risks to humans realised

The ominous concluding quote from a much longer paper, “Porcine circovirus type 2: success and failure” from Sweden, delivered in Canada last month, and given below.

The vaccines don’t work very well, the situation in pigs gets ever worse, bits of circovirus are being found in vaccines given to children and there continue to be very reasonable worries about the impact on human health.

We keep breeding the pigs and stuffing them with antibiotics to deal with the consequences (co-infections).

MRSA in pigs and people is only one of the results. Circovirus, the root cause, is still there, dark and dangerous.

We continue to move the pigs, embryos and semen, freely about the world, just to make sure that we have a done a thorough job of infecting everything, including people, with the resulting hotchpotch of little understood pathogens.

We have allowed veterinarians, uncontrolled but privileged and protected, to cover-up and to organise and supervise this for a whole decade.

The writer carries on complaining through the hail of organised abuse, stalking and threats, for the last ten years.


…“PCV as a contaminant in vaccines

Lately attention has been drawn to PCV as contaminants in vaccines for human use. Two licensed rotavirus vaccines, aimed to protect against enteric disease in infants, were found contaminated with PCV1 alone or in combination with PCV2, (

In particular the PCV2 contamination urges forcontinual studies that increase our understanding of this virus, including its potential to replicate in human cells and the eventual immune modulating capacity of PCV2 DNA on human cells.”


Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Antibiotic Resistance found near pig farms in China

According to Pig Progress today

Soil near Chinese pig farms is a  major reservoir of antibiotic-resistance genes

Researchers have demonstrated how routine antibiotic use at Chinese pig farms may have increased levels of tetracycline resistance in soil bacteria from nearby farmlands.

" The study, which is the first of its kind in China, clearly demonstrates that soils contaminated from animal farms "are major reservoirs of antibiotic-resistance genes in the environment," says Xiangdong Li, environmental engineer at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University."

Does anyone think it is any better near British pig farms?
The situation in Britain will be another state secret protecting organised veterinary crime.

We know there are admitted problems near US farms too.

The Chinese are to be complimented on telling the world.

MRSA - The British female veterinarian duped

The 'antibiotics in livestock' row is coming to a head, worldwide.

The emphasis is moving from the farmer, with MRSA infected pigs to the, often MRSA carrying, veterinarian causing the problem.

The blunt message due the veterinarians is:

“If you will not behave, clean yourselves up and go get a respectable job.”

Drug pushing, hurting the innocent so badly, is simply unacceptable.

The legal basis for prescribing antibiotics to animals in different countries needs examining.

It’s odd that the crisis is coming to a head in Denmark, see Danish Minister Whistle Blows,where“veterinarians cannot profit from the sale of antibiotics.” One wonders how effective that prohibition really is?

There is always a way of laundering money, usually legally, if there is a financial imperative for doing so.

Although. we don’t have a full list of countries and regulations we can make sense of a complicated situation by ignoring the, often quoted but artificial, distinction between growth promoting and health preservation.

We can see a clear line from prescription without profit to more-or-less complete freedom for antibiotic sale without prescription:

Denmark – Britain – USA. Everyone else seem to fall somewhere in-between.

Then if you take secrecy, an associated subject, you can make another clear line from the “tell it all” of Denmark (although there has been self-censorship there too) to a heavy news blackout in Britain.

The USA is similar to Denmark in allowing and applauding free speech, although the propaganda from some of the pro-antibiotic US veterinarians would be regarded as outrageous anywhere else.

USA/Denmark – Britain. Again, everyone else falls in-between the extremes.

Put the two lines together and it is pretty easy to see that the place to make a veterinary drugs fortune, in complete secrecy, is actually Britain. The government in the shape of the agricultural ministry Defra encourages the secrecy, in fact, they are fanatical.

In America, it's so free and easy, you can’t use a monopoly position to make that much money, in Denmark you are not allowed to take a profit from dealing, or prescribing to be more polite.

In Britain, the vets have a monopoly and have to account to nobody apart from the taxman, who also keeps income secret, something not the case in some Scandinavian countries.

So there are some pretty big fortunes being stashed away in Britain, whilst the organisers are claiming to be whiter than veterinary white.

Do all British vets participate? Of course not.

The industry is structured to give practice owning vets, especially those handling livestock, vast annual  incomes. The non-partner, often female vets, get an adequate, but not an especially good salary.

The often part time female vets may be taking MRSA home to their kids, whilst their bosses make fortunes legally drug dealing?

The women vets are being taken for mugs and doubtless, as the crisis deepens, they will start start whistle blowing.

One can only feel genuine sympathy for the many young women who love animals, work hard for their degree and yet find, without realising it, that they have been recruited to help deal dangerous drugs for the bosses' profit.

Monday, 23 August 2010

MRSA, veterinarians and travel insurance

We can be quite certain that MRSA, especially in veterinarians, will become an issue for travel insurance as the showdown between government and vets in Denmark goes worldwide. See MRSA - Danish Minister whistle-blows

Insurance is a matter of the utmost good faith. The insured must tell the insurer every relevant fact, whether asked or otherwise .

You can see the first stirring of a now superbug ridden world hitting travel insurance. 

A vet boarding a plane knowing that they may have or be carrying MRSA by reason of their profession, and failing to declare it, is going to be without cover now.

Maybe insurance has not picked up on the potential problem yet, but they will.

The prudent careful veterinarian is going to be informing a baffled insurance company. Baffled now, but they will soon catch on that somebody is wisely telling them something they need to know.

Once the insurance industry works out that veterinarians are a risk, the vet will no longer get the chance to forget to tell them. It will become a direct question: "When were you last tested for MRSA?"

No test, will mean "no flying with insurance": soon to become "no fly at all."  Attendance at the veterinary conferences and drug company jollies will become something of the past without extra documentation, at the very least.

The veterinary industry is not going to win this one. The still under-published events in Denmark are merely the opening shots in what will become an even bigger problem for vets than for the rest of us.

Plenty of drug profits in the bank and the inability or extra formalities to travel by air is one of life's little ironies.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Medical Tourists Infected by Indian Superbug Would be Excluded from Travel Insurance, Squaremouth Warns

A new antibiotic-resistant superbug isn't the only risk to Americans who travel abroad for cheaper surgery or medical treatment: 'medical tourism' typically is excluded from travel insurance coverage -- and is grounds to deny any claim arising from the trip, not just for health-related expenses, warns, America's fastest growing comparison website for travel insurance…

Sunday, 22 August 2010

MRSA - Danish Minister Whistle-blows

Any reference to the Danish Black List (in respect of MRSA in pigs and people) seems to be completely missing from an English search on the Internet.

Except on the British newsgroup

But Britain's veterinarians have failed to stifle news of its existence and significance to Britain: a Norwegian journalist tipped off the writer and he published.

You can get the response from the pig farmers to the extraordinary measures taken to protect the population from veterinary recklessness by the Danish Ministry of Agriculture.

Use Google Translate to get an adequate, if not elegant, translation.

The farmers are stunned.

The extraordinary story is carried on Denmark's equivalent of "Private Eye" or Wikileak, but not from a whistle-blower but on the direct orders of the Danish Agriculture Minister.

They obviously knew that the huge advertising spend made by the veterinary drugs industry would ensure that it would not be published by the "regular" Danish media.

That situation is common all over the world. You only ever see favourable comment on veterinarians and their drug pushing habits.

For the moment, they run the agricultural news: although various legislation is in hand to cut off the advertising revenue and remove the temptation for the media to self-censor for understandable, if not creditable,reasons.

"Transparency Thing

Transparency Thing is the meeting place for all journalists, editors
and others interested in the dissemination of public openness."

You can get it in Danish here, and again use Google Translate to get a
good sense.

"In an unusual move , the Food Ministry published the names and
addresses of 1,249 pig farmers across the country by the Ministry
accused of using too much antibiotics into their businesses. The
publication , which has no legal basis , pointing to some of the
places with resistant bacteria, but it is probably also a lot of
innocent looking ."

So, as you can see, although a newsgroup like
is abused by libel and stalking rings, it can still perform a
valuable function in recording events including government efforts to
counter organised crime influencing media.

The internet changes everything.

MRSA - British Censorship

The news of the Danish Ministry of Agriculture publishing a full list, names and locations of their pig farmers who they claim over-use antibiotics should be a “scoop” in Britain, and indeed elsewhere.

It's of fundamental interest to pig farmers. Denmark is hardly a small pork and pig producer and events there impact on markets worldwide.

True, by publishing only in Danish and keeping it to a “fringe” publication, the Danish Agriculture Minister probably hoped to keep the resulting uproar domestic. Understandably, he wanted both publicity within Denmark and silence overseas, but we have no reason to be guided in this way.

It’s big news. Something previously unthinkable in Britain has happened in Denmark. Denmark’s vets are in nose to nose confrontation with their government and their pig farmers are taking all the consequences.

The Danish vets do not want the government, farmers or the public to know which of them are carrying MRSA st398 from farm to farm and beyond and, of course, which farms have MRSA.

It does not matter whether you agree or disagree with the Danish government, this is big news: big news with public health implications

That really matters in Britain, but nothing is published.

Britain’s hopelessly corrupt veterinary drugs industry do not want British farmers to know just what is happening in Denmark.

The media establishment goes along with their wishes, certainly for fear of losing the massive drug advertising revenue.

So I publish on the British newsgroup, through a hail of organised libel and abuse.

It will be fascinating to see who follows the story, who publishes it and in which order. How long will it take for the story to surface?

Will it be in Britain at all? Will it be a national or will it be a farming paper?

Perhaps one of the many forums, farming and veterinary? Will it be password protected or available for all to read?

Will self-censorship triumph?

Please let me know of anyone publishing in English, inside or outside Denmark.