Sunday, 31 October 2010

MRSA st398 - Bill Marler reports

The influential "food poisoning lawyer Bill Marler has published a new extensive article on MRSA,  including MRSA st398.

His article, as one might expect, includes comment on transmission to humans via food, including a case study. It contains information previously unknown.

In an article, sometimes reading like a roll call of the United Nations, Britain is, as usual, missing.

Even for those naive enough to believe the assurances given by Defra, the British agricultural ministry renamed after the Mad Cow scandal, that British livestock is clear of MRSA, the issue of MRSA contaminated meat is still relevant.

Because the authorities have apparently failed to find any MRSA  in a few barn dust samples reluctantly taken when ordered by the EU, that is used to support claims that British livestock is free of MRSA?

We need a few more lawyers taking notice of just what has been covered up in Britain for the last decade.

BSE should have been the wake-up call, let alone Circovirus, Classical Swine Fever and Foot and Mouth outbreaks in the last decade. There were, and are, others too.

Animals, just like people, do get ill, but not on this scale and with so much secrecy.

We need reform now and if it has to be sued and prosecuted into Britain's corrupt vets, so be it.

Read Bill Marler's article here

Commenting on an outbreak in the USA:

...It appears that MRSA-contaminated food was the vehicle in this outbreak affecting low-risk persons within the community, and that this food was likely contaminated by a healthy carrier whose only apparent exposure were visits to a possibly infected relative in a nursing home. This outbreak could be a health-care-associated infection that spread to the community. The outbreak strain of MRSA, however, was resistant only to penicillin and oxacillin and was sensitive to all other antibiotics tested. A strain originating in a health-care facility more likely would have been a multidrug resistant organism...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Circovirus linked to PCV2, PMWS, PDNS, PRRSV.

Everyone seems to be racing to publish.

This abstract helps explains the links between some of the various emerging pig diseases and circovirus.

It all comes back to circovirus and the often secret epidemics in pig herds, now being exposed all over the world.

The massive use of antibiotics to keep sick pigs alive created the dangerous MRSA st398

Abstract here

Molecular characterization of porcine circovirus 2 isolated from diseased pigs co-infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus

Jianzhong Yi and Chengqian Liu
Abstract (provisional)
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the causative agent of PMWS. healthy pigs experimentally inoculated with PCV2 developed the typical microscopic lesions of PMWS but only mild clinical symptoms. The co-infection of PRRSV,PPV and PCV2 have been reported in recent years, Experimental studies on co-infection with PRRSV and PCV2 resulted in the microscopic lesions associated with PMWS and/or porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (PDNS) and the development of severe disease.
In June 2008, severe disease, known as ''high fever'' occurred in several pig farms in shanghai, leading to a 57% death rate. We simultaneously detected PRRSV and PCV2,PPV in the tissue samples from diseased pigs by PCR technology, PRRSV was detected, genome sequence blast showed the strain belongs to genotype 2, 99.4% homologous to the PRRS virus strain JXA1 isolated in China, which has been proved to cause porcine high fever disease with high morbidity and mortality (Tian, et al.,2007). There was no PPV detected in all the samples, but we detected PCV2 from all the PRRS infected samples. The complete genome of PCV2 strains were sequenced, phylogenetic and polymorphic analyses were carried out. BLAST searches revealed the highest sequence identity (99.5% nt and 99.3% aa) to Guangxi strain EF675230.
The phylogenetic tree showed that clustering of the isolates didn't strongly correlate to clinical signs or geographical distribution. Polymorphic analyses demonstrated that the amino acids at most of the polymorphic sites in ORF1 and ORF2 belong to the same amino acid group according to chemical or structural properties, and revealed that highly polymorphic regions overlapped with the known immunoreactive epitopes of ORF2. Key words: PCV2, PMWS, PDNS, PRRSV.

Circovirus in pigs invisibly spreading in the USA - means more MRSA

We get yet more confirmation that the pigs are sick with circovirus, and how it is spreading invisibly, this time from the USA.

That means ever more antibiotics to keep sick pigs free from bacterial disease and ever more MRSA in people.
This should have been stopped years ago.

Full report here

Prev Vet Med. 2010 Oct 21. [Epub ahead of print]

High prevalence of porcine circovirus viremia in newborn piglets in five clinically normal swine breeding herds in North America.

Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.

Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) can be vertically transmitted resulting in fetal infection with or without clinical signs and lesions. The primary objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of intrauterine PCV2 infection in clinically normal newborn piglets in conventional pork production facilities. Five commercial breeding herds located in the U.S. and Mexico were included in the study...

... In conclusion, an unexpectedly high prevalence of PCV2 viremia was detected in healthy sows (serum and colostrum) and their pre-suckle piglets in the five breeding herds investigated and PCV2b was more prevalent than PCV2a. This information adds to the knowledge of PCV2 infection in breeding herds.

Monday, 25 October 2010

MRSA st398 Danish female pig worker infects her child


The MRSA st398 situation in Denmark covered in previous reports gets ever more serious. 

Now we have details of female farm workers becoming infected and, in one case, the mother taking it home to infect her one year old son. 

We are not taking about unnamed victims in scientific reports but full news reports including photographs of the victims and the identities of the farms.

The situation for veterinarians, many nowadays women, and pig farm workers everywhere gets ever more difficult and unresolved.

There is no reason to think that the position in Denmark is worse than in other western countries. They have just been more open and truthful.

This is a selection of quotes from a mechanical translation of the transcript of a radio programme in Danish.

Read the story here

Pig bacterium

PIG BACTERIA While hospitals are fighting a fierce battle against multi-resistant bacteria, so bacteria will not be fought with ordinary penicillin allowed to spread freely in agriculture.

It tells P1 Documentary, which together with Å has uncovered problems with resistant bacteria that migrate from pigs to humans....

...The multi-drug resistant swine bacterium was first detected in Denmark in 2006. The bacteria live in the pig's snout and on its skin, and its spread in livestock agree dust when pigs sneeze and move around.

Doubling of infected people

Last year authorities registered 39 Danes infected with MRSA CC 398th In the first 9 months of 2010, is the special pig bacterium according Statens Serum Institut registered in 55 Danes. Continuing spread of infection in the same pace the rest of the year, it will mean a doubling of infected people in 2010.

it may be the tip of the iceberg, the resistant bacteria are detected typically only when the wearer gets a wound that can not be whole with common antibiotics.

Infection must be stopped 

One of the leading researchers in staphylococci, a professor of microbiology and Dr. Hans Jørn Kolmos from Odense University Hospital, is surprised that neither the authorities or agriculture has done nothing to eliminate the problematic bacteria in the stables:

We now have a couple of years called for research showing how widespread this problem is in Danish piggeries. But it has not been studied. Perhaps it is because once you have defined the problem, then you also have to do something about it.

Hans Jørn Kolmos think the authorities should tackle the source of infection before the problem grows even bigger:

. - The most problematic is that the bacterium is not in the pig barn.. Pops it up in the hospital it can go badly wrong, with serious wound infections in the course of an operation.. We have seen several examples.

Gav pig infection on to her baby

. P1 Documentary can talk about 1-year-old Casper from Hjørring who were infected with multidrug-resistant bacteria from swine, though he had never set foot in a piggery.

The source of infection was his mother Naja forest that suited the infected pigs.

Naja forest came first even of the infection when she changed jobs to a farm outside MRSA.

Louise Jensen was also infected through her work with pigs. She is surprised that she is treated like a plague hit the hospital.

. - Every time a nurse or doctor would come to me, they donned coveralls and long gloves. They should have plastic over his shoes and masks.

Back in the pig barn was the only change that she should wash their hands often and dry hands on paper instead of towels.

Spread freely from farm to farm

Neither the authorities or agriculture itself detects which farms, the infected pigs came from. Therefore, it is virtually impossible for farmers to keep infection out or to clean up his yard by getting new MRSA-free pigs in.

It tells the farmer Niels Jacobsen, who are themselves infected with swine bacterium, as are those of his staff on their daily walk in the barn....

...Swine Producers have told both the veterinarian and Labour that he has MRSA on the farm. But no authorities gave him specific instructions on this occasion, as his pigs freely sold to other farms....

No help from politicians

Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Henrik Hoegh (V), is concerned that the bacterium spreads But he will not stop trade than MRSA-infected pigs or require screening here and now.

The problem is that nobody can guarantee me that you can go and take tests for crews and by 100 percent say that the crew here is not MRSA, says Henrik Hoegh to P1 Documentary...

...As long as MRSA is not detected, it has no economic consequences for the individual farmer. animals are not more frequently ill than other pigs and the meat sold at the same price per kilo as non-infected animals.

Treatment does not pay 

It is possible for infected people to get rid of the bacteria with very intense antibiotics and washes from skin and nose.

But the treatments do not help the staff at MRS-infected farms, because the infection recurs, once they are back in the barn .

The resistant bacteria are caused by agricultural high antibiotic consumption. ...

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hepatitis E - three dead - story goes national

The Daily Telegraph has taken the story national - see first report way back in August, second and third reports this month.
The Health Protection Agency is, not very convincingly, denying any link between Hepatitis E, pigs or pork.
Well, they would, wouldn’t they? 
They are the people that were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive on bio-safety risks to their own staff after spilling E.Coli 0157 at one of their labs.  see story
We can be sure the taxpayer pays the fine, and both sides' costs, when one government body prosecutes another.
If they can’t look after themselves, what hope for the rest of us.
They seem to be in direct contradiction with the man they worked with, and who has just received grants from other pig production areas, to continue his research. 
The article, worth reading in full, reflects the difference in views.

Virus warning over undercooked pork after three die

Britons were warned not to eat undercooked pork after three people died from a rare virus.

22 Oct 2010.

A rare strain of the liver disease hepatitis E has killed three people in Cornwall and caused at least 55
more across the UK to fall ill.

Hepatitis E is generally thought to be caused by poor sanitary conditions and previously it had been assumed that British sufferers had caught the disease abroad. But Dr Harry Dalton, a consultant gastroenterologist at Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, said the recent patients he had seen did not fit the usual criteria...

...He believes that the main cause is contact with raw pork and is now researching the link. Patients with liver problems admitted to hospital will be checked to see if the problems had been caused by Hepatitis E.

However a spokesman for the Health Protection Agencsaid: "The South West Peninsula HPA previously worked with Dr Harry Dalton, Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust to investigate a number of hepatitis E cases from Dec 2009 to March 2010 in the Cornwall area. "The team concluded that there was no epidemiological link between the cases or an associated link with eating or handling pork...

...It is acknowledged that pigs and pork can harbour the disease and that this may be the cause of the disease in cases where there has not been any foreign travel, according to the HPA website.

...Dr Dalton said those with existing liver conditions are most at risk and advised people to take care when preparing pork. He added: "The message is not to not eat pork, but to simply make sure it is cooked properly and that hands are washed thoroughly after handling it raw.” Dr Dalton believes hepatitis E could be affecting as many as 1,200 people in the UK every year...
There is no vaccine against hepatitis E.

MRSA st398 spreads to Danish cattle

The row about MRSA in livestock, and people, rumbles on in Denmark. 

Ironically, the Minister under attack, previously out manoeuvred the Danish vets when they refused him information on farms with pigs or personnel  infected by MRSA.

He published a list, on the internet, of all the pig farms alleged to be over-using antibiotics - see earlier report


Danish cattle affected by MRSA

The multi-resistant staphylococcus bacterium MRSA has also hit Danish cattle. DDTU scientist dishes sharp criticism against the minister for doing nothing.
Written by: MBK
MRSA has also spread to the Danish cattle. . It shows the annual DANMAP report that tracks the evolution of resistant bacteria in agriculture, livestock, food and people, writes engineer.

ST398 MRSA can spread through contact between infected animals or objects and people, which in turn can infect other people...
Lack of knowledge is not an excuse

Professor Frank Moller Aarestrup from DTU Food does not understand that the Food Minister will await a trial that runs until next year before he will look at whether there should be something.

But one study will not be used to determine what exactly needs to be done, said Frank Moller Aarestrup.

 - We will look at whether it makes a difference if we stop treating pigs with cephalosporins.  But we have a strong suspicion that there are at least two other antibiotics involved namely zinc and tetrazyklin, so unless this study shows that cephalosporins cause 90 percent of the emergence of MRSA - and I think it is far from the case - then several attempts before we can finally say what is causing the spread. S So if Henrik Hoegh will wait until we have finished investigating, he comes to wait long, "he told The Engineer.

Therefore, the lack of knowledge is not an excuse for doing something now, says Frank Møller Aarestrup.

Danish doctors want trade in MRSA hit pigs halted

More reports from Denmark show pressure for action on MRSA  in pigs from the medical profession is growing.

As you can read, (mechanical translation) they want trading in MRSA infected pigs halted.

Trading, not only within Denmark, but across international borders, continues despite the known risks to human health.

Fødevareminster Henrik Hoegh (V) will not halt trading than MRSA-infected pigs or require screening here and now

He admits it is high time to do anything about MRSA in agriculture. But only when he sees the outcome of a research project on MRSA in agriculture, he is ready for action.  It is completed by the end of 2011.

Have not done anything

 One of the leading researchers in staphylococci, a professor of microbiology and Dr. Hans Jørn Kolmos from Odense University Hospital, is surprised that neither the authorities or agriculture has done nothing to eliminate the problematic bacteria in the stables:

 - We now have a couple of years called for research showing how widespread this problem is in Danish piggeries.  But it has not been studied.  Perhaps it is because once you have defined the problem, then you also have to do something about it.

Hans Jørn Kolmos think the authorities should tackle the source of infection before the problem grows even bigger...

Danish Medical Association calls for MRSA st398 action.

The continuing row about MRSA in livestock rumbles on in Denmark - a country were the pig is of enormous economic significance.
Unreported in English and missing in Britain or America, important events in Denmark go unremarked outside Denmark.
However, mechanical translations open a window on important developments there.
The situation on Danish farms is probably better then elsewhere, but the medical profession are increasingly alarmed by MRSA st398 in pigs.

21 October 2010
Lægeforeningen kræver handling mod MRSAMedical Association calls for action against MRSA
Der må straks gribes ind over for de resistente MRSA-bakterier, der i øjeblikket har smittet hvert 8. There must be immediate action against the resistant MRSA bacteria, which currently has infected every 8 svin, og som kan smitte mennesker. pigs and can infect humans. Det mener Lægeforeningen. It feels Medical Association.

Skrevet af: mbk Written by: MBK
- Jeg mener, man bør have en handleplan for, hvordan man får bekæmpet dels det stigende antibiotikaforbrug i landbruget og dels får sat ind over for de her svin, som er smittede med multiresistente bakterier, siger formand for lægeforeningen Mads Koch Hansen til DR Indland. -I think we should have an action plan for how to have fought and the growing use of antibiotics in agriculture and partly gets plotted against these pigs are infected with multidrug-resistant bacteria, says chairman of the Medical Association Mads Koch Hansen DR ice.

I dag er hvert 8. Today, every eighth svin i Danmark smittet med den modstandsdygtige bakterie MRSA CC 398. pigs in Denmark were infected with the resistant bacteria MRSA CC 398th
- Det er skræmmende tal at høre som læge, siger Mads Koch Hansen. - It's scary to hear the numbers of physicians, says Mads Koch Hansen.

Alligevel vil landbrugsminister Henrik Høegh afvente resultatet af et forskningsprojekt om MRSA i landbruget, der forventes at blive færdigt ved udgangen af 2011, før han vil gribe ind over for bakterien. Yet Agriculture Henrik Hoegh await the outcome of a research project on MRSA in agriculture, which is expected to be finished by the end of 2011, before he will intervene with the bacterium.

Det forstår Mads Koch Hansen ikke. It understands Mads Koch Hansen not.
- Han er en meget tålmodig mand. - He is a very patient man. Jeg mener simpelthen ikke, man kan vente til udgangen af 2011 med at begynde at handle på det her. I mean simply that you can wait until the end of 2011 to begin to act on this stuff. Jeg mener, man skal handle nu, siger han. I think we must act now, he says. 

Friday, 22 October 2010

Hepatitis E - three dead, 55 infected - linked to pig farming


More information is slowly becoming available about the Hepatitis E investigation in Cornwall and Devon. 

See Hepatitis E linked to British pigs and pork for previous report.

We now know that there have been three human deaths being possibly linked to pigs and pork. There have been problems with pig health in the area for some years.

News report in full here

Friday, October 22, 2010

Research launched as rare virus is linked to three deaths in West

A rare strain of the liver disease Hepatitis E has been identified as the cause of three deaths in Cornwall.

Researchers are now beginning a two-year study into the virus strain, thought to be transmitted through pigs.

In addition to the deaths, it is thought 55 people have been struck down by the disease in Devon and Cornwall.

Medical experts are warning people to make sure they cook any pork products well and wash their hands thoroughly if they handle it raw...

...Dr Harry Dalton, consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and head of the Cornish team, said: "Not only had the patients not travelled abroad but they didn't fit the normal age range for the virus.

"In other parts of the world it usually affects the young. However, in the cases being seen in the UK, it is the middle-aged and elderly, particularly men."

It is believed that the main vectors of the disease are pigs and products derived from pigs...

...Patients with an existing liver condition are most at risk from Hepatitis E. The researchers will examine patients with liver problems who have been admitted to hospital with a worsening of their condition, to see whether the problems have been caused by exposure to Hepatitis E...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

MRSA st398 spreading in Denmark, doctors fear


According to The Copenhagen Post today, the medical profession are urging the Danish government to take action to stop the spread of MRSA st398 in pigs and thence to humans.

They know that 13 per cent of pigs carry the strain and that 55 people this year have been infected.

The health minister, very concerned about the situation, needs more data.

Our report, from August last, details the quite extraordinary story of his efforts to get information from the veterinary profession: MRSA - Danish Minister Whistle-blows

The pig industry in Denmark is reported to have failed to take any action to date.

The widespread use of antibiotics on Danish pig farms is blamed for MRSA st398.

The full report is here


Staph strain ready to spread, doctors fear

Thursday, 21 October 2010 14:14
A large segment of the pig population is carrying a highly-resistant strain of bacteria

Medical experts are urging the Health Ministry to take action against the spread of a highly contagious strain of bacteria now found in a resistant form in one out of eight pigs, reports public broadcaster DR.

According to a sample survey from DANMAP, the national programme for surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria, around 13 percent of pigs were found to be carrying the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) CC 398 strain.

MSRA is resistant to antibiotics and can easily spread to humans.

... 55 people this year have already become infected with the bacteria...

...Some of these people are carriers who presently show no effects from the bacteria...

Henrik Høegh, the health minister, said he was concerned about the figures but added that the ministry needed more accurate diagnosis data before an effective action plan could be put into effect.

The pig farming industry has also yet to take action against the spread of the MRSA strain.

Dr Mads Koch Hansen, president of the Danish Medical Association, argued that the bacteria must be beaten back now before it spreads out of control...

Monday, 18 October 2010

Hepatitis E linked to British pigs and pork

It is believed a large proportion of Hepatitis E cases in the UK are caused by contact with pigs and products from pigs.” 

70 percent human Mortality Rate.

Well that’s another long standing scandal coming out of the woodwork.

Pigs in Cornwall have been known to be sick with circovirus for years.

Animal Rights published extensive photographic evidence of sick and dead pigs and massive antibiotic use in the area.

They named the farms and claimed that the pigs were owned by board member(s) of BPEX - the British Pig Executive - a government backed organisation

Access to the photographs was posted to the internet newsgroup by Pete, apparently the same man as the mysterious American undercover investigator later featured in Time Magazine. 

After years operating undercover in Britain, he waved goodbye from Heathrow on his way home to America. He has never been heard of in Britain since.

See our post last August about this disease Hepetitis E being found in vets.

This will embarrass the British ministry of agriculture - Defra.

Press Release here

Public release date: 17-Oct-2010
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

Hepatitis E research receives funding

Researchers from the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro have received a grant of £337,000 to carry out a two-year study with partners in Glasgow and Norwich into a rare form of Hepatitis - Hepatitis E. The grant has come from the Chief Scientist's Office for Scotland and will be divided between the three centres taking part in the study.

Dr Harry Dalton, a Consultant Gastroenterologist at the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and affiliate member of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry's European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), will be leading a team in Cornwall. Dr Dalton and his team in Truro have been involved in developing tests to diagnose Hepatitis E, and they are regarded as one of the world leaders in this condition. In fact an unusual strain of the virus, which was found in a patient in the Cornish Centre, was sent to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, USA. They sequenced the viral genome and it has been named Kernow C1.

Dr Dalton said: "This came about in Cornwall because I run a jaundice clinic twice a week. We had a small proportion of patients and we couldn't work out what was wrong with them and that's when we discovered it was Hepatitis E."
Hepatitis E is an infection which is normally associated with developing countries such as India, Central Africa and Nepal and is generally thought to be caused by poor sanitary conditions. Previously it had always been assumed that in countries like Britain if Hepatitis E showed up it was in people who had travelled abroad. However, that was proving to not be the situation in many cases found in Cornwall and the rest of the UK.

Dr Dalton said: "Not only had the patients not travelled abroad but they didn't fit the normal age range for the virus. In other parts of the world it usually affects the young and they usually get over it. However, in the cases being seen in the UK it is the middle aged and elderly, particularly men, who are getting it. Since we have started looking we have seen 55 cases mainly in Cornwall, but also Devon, and some patients have died as a result."

It is believed a large proportion of Hepatitis E cases in the UK are caused by contact with pigs and products from pigs. Dr Dalton said: "Hepatitis E can be transmitted through blood transfusions and contaminated shellfish but it is mainly found in pigs, and we have found it in the human food chain. We are not suggesting people should not eat pork – simply that if you do make sure it is cooked thoroughly and if handling raw meat make sure you wash your hands thoroughly."

The study will look at patients with existing liver problems who have been admitted to hospital with a worsening of their existing conditions to see whether any of the new problems have been caused by exposure to the Hepatitis E virus. The aim will be to try and better understand the virus and its effects. The three teams are expecting to study around 800 people across the three sites during the two year study and they are expecting to see a 70 per cent mortality rate in patients exposed to the virus.

Dr Dalton said: "If our study shows that contact with Hepatitis E is the cause of deterioration in patients who have damaged livers, such patients may be candidates for vaccination to prevent them getting the virus in the first place. A Chinese team are in the process of developing a vaccine."

The HEV programme is the first major grant project which will be partly based at the Peninsula Medical School's new European Centre for Health and the Environment which is based at the Knowledge Spa in Truro. Dr Dalton is a Senior Lecturer at the centre. He said: "This is quite a significant piece of research funding and will sit alongside our other ongoing collaboration with teams in France, China and the USA."
Professor Michael Depledge, Interim Director of ECEHH and Chair of the Advisory Board, said: "This is an excellent achievement by Dr Harry Dalton and his team and represents a bright start for ECEHH bringing research funding in to Cornwall."

Professor Janice Kay, Senior Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: "This is an important piece of research that will contribute significantly to enhancing the health not only of people in Cornwall, but also elsewhere in the world. It's great to see this achievement of Dr Harry Dalton and his team so early in the development of the ECEHH."

The University of Plymouth is a founding partner of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. University of Plymouth Vice-Chancellor, Professor Wendy Purcell, said: "This award will see breakthrough life saving research being led right here in Cornwall, which is a very exciting development for the health and the wealth of the region. It is world-class research such as this - with direct translational patient benefits - which is putting PCMD on the map as one of the leading medical schools in the UK."

Sue Brownlow, Director of Combined Universities in Cornwall said: "ECEHH was established to be an internationally recognised centre of excellence for research and this grant is a mark of its success. It demonstrates what partnership working can bring to Cornwall."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Convergence Partnership Office for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, added: "The importance and outreach of this research and manufacture of a solution into the health sector is critical in placing Cornwall on the international map as place where innovation and the application of collective knowledge makes a difference to all."

Friday, 15 October 2010

Netherlands - Disappointing antibiotic figures from Holland

If this is the situation in Holland, where the facts are widely reported and everyone well aware of the seriousness of the dangers, it is not very encouraging.

Goodness knows how bad it is in secretive Britain, where figures and facts are hard to come by.

Here, the government veterinarians regard test faking, holding back information and wild PR as legitimate solutions to animal health epidemics.

They still refuse to test the pigs for MRSA st398 despite growing public pressure from eminent scientists.

The world, not just the increasing number of campaigners, will want believable explanations.

There aren’t any that exonerate the vets. They are responsible for these crimes against humanity.

Report here

15 Oct 2010

Antibiotics use in the intensive livestock industry in the Netherlands has come down in 2009 – in comparison to 2008. It is, however, still higher than in 2007.

... figures show that antibiotic use in broilers and finisher pigs has come down slightly over 2009, after a rapid increase in the previous years. Antibiotic use in sows and piglets, however, has increased after a small decrease in the years prior to that. In dairy cattle, antibiotic use decreased for the first time.

All in all, 2% less antibiotics were sold than in 2008.

The reduction is too small to achieve the Dutch authorities’ target to meet 50% reduction by 2011. Optimists refer to the best achieving farms using up to 90% less antibiotics.

For the whole of the EU, it was decided that per January 1, 2007, antibiotics were no longer allowed as growth promoters. ...

Saturday, 9 October 2010

MRSA in British livestock - letter demanding action

Some of the signatories on the letter seem to have been edited out in some of the published reports.

It’s not clear why.

Since the publication of this letter, the National Pig Association have renewed their claims that British pigs are clear of MRSA, pointing out that the Netherlands and others do have MRSA in the pig herds.

This is Tracy Worcester’s list of signatories.

The writer believes that the pigs should be tested in a comprehensive programme on the actual farms, whatever is done elsewhere. The current disease free status is claimed on the basis of a few samples taken on EU instructions from pig sheds a couple of years ago.

That is insufficient, inappropriate and dangerous. It also leaves scope for result faking by Britain’s corrupt government veterinarians. 

We do know that MRSA st398 is present in Britain, but not necessarily in pigs or poultry.

The writer knows, from personal experience, that the faking of tests on pigs during epidemics is authorised and condoned at the most senior levels of Defra – the British agricultural ministry.

Tracy's Blog here 

The Pig Business Blog

The MRSA threat of Industrial Meat Farming

Posted on October 5, 2010

Pig Business coordinated an open letter regarding the MRSA threat of industrial meat farming. It was exclusively featured in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday 2nd of October, which is both World MRSA Day and World Farm Animals Day. The full text, and co- signatories are below. We will keep everyone posted on further actions.

World MRSA Day on 2 October is a time for remembering the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who have suffered gravely from MRSA in recent years. Although still high, hospital infection rates have now fallen thanks to a concerted effort to improve hygiene and antibiotic prescribing.

In contrast, MRSA in pigs and poultry has recently increased dramatically and tens of millions of animals around the world have become carriers of strains which can pass to humans. Scientists have said this rapid spread is due to the intensive conditions in which such animals are kept, the regular inclusion of antibiotics in their feed or water and the world trade in live animals.

In Europe, serious community-acquired human infections and some deaths have already been caused by farm-animal strains. The Government needs to pay urgent attention to the possibility that farm-animal MRSA may emerge as a major new reservoir of human infections in the UK. A first essential step is the introduction of a comprehensive testing programme for pigs and poultry at slaughter, imported meat and community-acquired strains in humans.

Tracy Worcester, Director of the film Pig Business
Lord Peter Melchett, Policy Director, Soil Association
Derek Butler, Chair, MRSA Action UK
Edwina Currie, Patron, MRSA Action UK
Vicki Hird, Senior Campaigner, Friends of the Earth
Philip Lymbery, CEO of Compassion in World Farming
Suzi Morris, UK Director, World Society for the Protection of Animals.
Leslie Ash
Lady Carole Bamford, Daylesford Organics
Helen Browning
Professor Mark Enright
Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall
Professor Vyvyan Howard
Zac Goldsmith MP
Dr Gesa Staats, Veterinarian Toxicologist

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

C. diff: Blame hospitals? Or food? (or pigs?)

The American writer, Maryn McKenna, once again seems to be seizing the initiative over zoonotic disease and superbugs. Her articles and books always take us ahead of the crowd and with serious science rendered understandable, too.

She asks if food could be a source of the dreaded C.Diff?

Perhaps, we can add something helpful. 

When C.Diff first hit the headlines, there seemed to be a clear geographical coincidence to pig farms – and specifically pig farms that had circovirus outbreaks and consequent antibiotic use. 

Look how long the writer has been writing about it!

The strain was NAP1/027/BI, usually called 027 in England. You can’t always get the strain named in Britain, but the bad ones seem to be 027. 

There have been many human deaths occurring in hospital outbreaks on both sides of the Atlantic - one of the early ones identified as 027 was at Lowestoft in England in March 2007, others in Canadian pig farming areas.

Geographical coincidence can strike like a hammer blow and be a faster way to the source than anything.

But more recent outbreaks in hospitals did not show such a close association with pig farming.

C.Diff probably now comes in all three ways, hospitals, food and pigs. It could have started in pigs fed with antibiotics to deal with circovirus epidemics; and carried on the person via staff and patients into hospitals in pig raising areas.

Anyway, here is the scary disease girl putting science into accessible English. 

You can get the Full Article Here

C. diff: Blame hospitals? Or food?

By Maryn McKennaDescription: Email Author
October 6, 2010  |

People who are interested in infections that are transmitted in hospitals (umm, ghouls like me) have a special sick relish for Clostridium difficile, or in its short form, C. diff. C. diff lives in the intestines, part of a complex population of many bacteria — you did know there are more bacteria in your body than there are cells that belong to you, right? — but it roars out of control if those other bacteria are wiped out by a course of antibiotics, especially clindamycin. Removing the other bacteria clears out space for C. diff to reproduce in much greater numbers; the toxins it produces irritate the lining of the intestine, producing colitis, and triggering fever, cramps and diarrhea, and in the worst cases, sepsis. miscarriage and death.

C. diff colitis is one of the most common and serious hospital-acquired infections because — if you’re reading this over breakfast, you might want to stop eating now — severe diarrhea in a hospital patient who is confined to a bed and using a bedpan tends to get everywhere. Really, everywhere: bed linens and bedrails, floors and walls, stethoscopes, telephones, computer keyboards, and the hands of the healthcare personnel who operate those devices and then touch another patient.

C. diff persists so spectacularly because in the outside air, it forms a hard-shelled spore that protects its genetic material from assault — including from the alcohol in the hand gel that most healthcare workers use to clean their hands in between patients, and from the stomach acid of patients who swallow it. (See, I told you to stop eating.) Because of that, and because it’s such a devastating infection, hospitals toil incredibly hard at sanitizing to get rid of it,

C. diff colitis is a stubborn and ugly infection. ...

..Starting about 10 years ago, C. diff got dramatically more problematic: more virulent, more resistant to treatment, and more commonly occurring in people who would not have been expected to have it — often, healthy young people who had not been in hospitals, who seemed to be developing the illness in the outside world. Two CDC researchers said in 2008:

In the United States, the number of hospital discharges where (C. diff associated diarrhea, CDAD) was listed as any diagnosis doubled between 2000 and 2003... with a disproportionate increase for persons aged > 64 years. By 2003, regional reports of CDAD outbreaks from hospitals throughout the US and in Quebec, Canada emerged, describing severe disease associated with greater numbers of complications, including colectomies, treatment failures, and deaths. In 2004, the attributable mortality rate of nosocomial CDAD in Quebec hospitals was 6.9%, compared to 1.5% among Canadian hospitals in 1997. In the US, death certificate data suggest mortality rates due to CDAD increased from 5.7 per million population in 1999 to 23.7 per million in 2004. (Gould, Critical Care, 2008)

The reason for the surge has been understood to be the emergence of a new, hypervirulent strain of C. diff that produces up to 20 times more toxin than earlier ones. (C. diff nomenclature will make your brain hurt, but the strain is generally known as NAP1/027/BI, toxinotype III.) But increased virulence doesn’t explain the increased incidence, and the transmission patterns of the new strain have been murky...
An emerging line of inquiry suggests that the transmission patterns become much more clear if you look in a different place for the bacterium’s origin: not in hospitals, but in food.

C. diff has been identified in live pigs, cows and chickens. ...