Tuesday, 27 December 2011

MRSA on Pig Farms in Croatia

It is amazing to see how far Croatia has come though war and troubles in recent years. It's sad to see MRSA in their pigs, but good to see them admit it.

Britain remains in denial: from the top of the international veterinary tree to a corrupt criminalised backwater in less then a single veterinary generation.

Abstract here

2011 Dec;59(4):419-25.

The presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on large pig breeding farms in Croatia.

Habrun B, Ra?i? I, Beck R, Budimir A, Beni? M, Kompes G, Spi?i? S,
Cvetni? Z.

Croatian Veterinary Institute Department of Bacteriology and
Parasitology Savska cesta 143 10000 Zagreb Croatia. habrun@veinst.hr


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have emerged worldwide and have become resistant to a variety of antibiotics. MRSA colonisation in pigs was first reported from the Netherlands in 2005,
where pigs were implicated as a source of human MRSA infections (Voss et al., 2005).

This paper presents the first report on the presence of MRSA on large pig breeding farms in Croatia, together with the determination of the mecA gene, the results of spa typing and susceptibility to commonly used antimicrobials. Dust samples (7-11 per farm) were collected from eight large pig farms in Croatia. Of the total 68 swabs, the mecA gene was detected in 24 isolates growing on the MRSA agar. All isolates were resistant to oxacillin, tetracycline and streptomycin, and susceptible only to vancomycin, while 92% of the strains were susceptible to ciprofloxacin. Genotyping of the MRSA strains was performed by spa typing, and revealed t011 (n = 17), t034 (n = 5) and t1451 (n = 2). The results presented here predict that MRSA is present on a large number of pig farms in Croatia.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

MRSA on German Organic and Conventional Pig Farms

This apparently previously unpublished report is not peer reviewed.

However, the summary does seem to accord with common sense. It does not seek to claim that organic pigs are free from MRSA st398 and the reasons why organic farming has less MRSA in pigs seem reasonable.

The incidence of MRSA on German conventional pig farms is amazing, not least when compared with the alleged absence of MRSA on British pig farms.

If the industry really believed this was the situation in Britain, they would be basing all their marketing on it – and making a fortune. 

It would be a pretty remarkable performance to keep Britain clear of a disease admitted almost everywhere else, and for years.

Why don’t they make the claim loud and bold of a superior product?

They don’t because they do not want to become associated too closely with British state veterinary crime. They do not have the protection of Crown Immunity.

Veterinary heads are going to roll in Britain. The current situation would not and will not stand scrutiny. The vets now have no way out. They left it too long to whistle-blow or own up.

The report is available here

21st December 2011

Summary translation
In the last few years, importance of MRSA in livestock grows more and more. In this study, the occurrence of MRSA was assessed on 42 organic and 88 conventional pig herds in different regions of Germany by taking dust samples and nasal swabs. In addition, the spa-types were identified. The results of this study showed that 11 of the 42 (26%) examined organic pig herds were MRSA-positive, whereas 92% of the conventional pig herds were identified as MRSA-positive. In both husbandry systems, similar spa-types (t011, t034) were identified, which are associated with the MRSA ST398.

The low prevalence of MRSA in organic pig herds in comparison to conventional pig farming is due to different factors: Perhaps the most important one is moving animals less than in conventional pig farming. One reason is the preferred form of closed systems in organic pig farming. Because of this, possibilities for intake of MRSA from outside are low. MRSA which are already in the organic pig population are not able to spread as fast as those in conventional systems because of a strong competitor flora and low animal density. Now it will be necessary to examine especially the intake of MRSA in organic pig herds in former studies and to dam its spread by regular screenings of animals and their environment.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Collect MRSA st398 with the eggs?

Some alarming statistics that have massive implications. A harmless activity carries a risk of catching superbugs.

British government veterinarians have still not managed to find MRSA st398 in British pigs.

They have not looked properly, anxious to blame everyone else when they do finally have to admit its presence on British farms.

MRSA st398 was found it in some Scottish children some years ago.

The current position is if they do have it in livestock, there is no danger to humans.

We pay these veterinarians, but for what?

Why are they advising on human health issues?

Summary and access to full report  here

Published online: 12 December 2011

MRSA-ST398 in livestock farmers and neighbouring residents in a rural area in Germany


a1 Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital of Munich (LMU), Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology & NetTeaching Unit, Munich, Germany
a2 Governmental Institute of Public Health of Lower Saxony, Hannover, Germany
Prevalence of and risk factors associated with MRSA-ST398 carriage in 1872 (response 70%) farmers and neighbouring residents in a pig- and poultry-dense area in Germany were investigated using a cross-sectional study and self-sampling nasal swabs. In the population, 1% without occupational livestock contact and 24% with occupational livestock contact tested positive for MRSA-ST398. The group without occupational livestock contact was 3·8 times [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·5–9·3] more likely to be colonized if a household member had livestock contact and 3·2 times (95% CI 1·4–7·4) more likely if they regularly made private farm visits (e.g. to buy eggs or milk). In the group with occupational livestock contact, pig contact had an odds ratio of 7·1 (95% CI 2·9–17·2) for MRSA-ST398 acquisition. This is the first study to associate private farm visits with acquisition of MRSA; more research to explore the exact transmission routes is necessary.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

MRSA in Swiss pigs increasing

MRSA is getting worse in Swiss pigs according to this report.

A three fold increase in two years is ominous.

The full text is here

...This study is the first to describe the presence of MRSA ST49 in
slaughter pigs, and to demonstrate a significant and nearly three-fold
increase of MRSA prevalence in pigs within two years. The  presence of
a specific clonal lineage of MRSA from Switzerland suggests that it
has been selected in Swiss pig husbandry. Effective hygiene measures
should be enhanced within the entire pig production chain to suppress
the spread of these pathogens into the community.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

MRSA st398 responsible for bloodstream infections?

Events become ever more ominous for Britain's vetocracy.

Their attempt to start a trade war with the Americans on the issue of antibiotic resistance is doomed to total failure.

Attempts to start smoke screens will be swamped by the avalanche of science linking MRSA st398 to human illness and the curious absence of MRSA st398 in British pigs.

Everyone will want to know how this miracle was achieved.

We think we can tell them.

Full report here

Methicillin-Susceptible ST398 Staphylococcus aureus Responsible for Bloodstream Infections: An Emerging Human-Adapted Subclone?


In the course of an annual 3-month bloodstream infections (BSI) survey conducted during a four-year period in 31 healthcare institutions located in three noncontiguous French regions, we report 18 ST398 Staphylococcus aureus BSI. ST398 BSI incidence showed a seven-fold increase during the study period (0.002 per 1,000 patient days in 2007 vs. 0.014 in 2010). ST398 BSI isolates differed from the pig-borne multiresistant clone: 17/18 BSI isolates were methicillin susceptible and none was of t011, t034 or t108 pig-borne spa-types. ST398 BSI isolates had homogenous resistance patterns (15/18 with only Eryr) and prophagic content (all harboured the hlb-converting Sau3int phage).

The clustering of BSI and pig-borne isolates by spa-typing and MLVA, the occurrence of Sau3int phage in BSI isolates and the lack of this phage in pig-borne isolates suggest that the emergence of BSI isolates could have arisen from horizontal transfer, at least of the Sau3int phage, in genetically diverse MSSA ST398 isolates. The acquisition of the phage likely plays a role in the increasing ability of the lysogenic ST398 isolates to colonize human. The mode of acquisition of the non pig-borne ST398 isolates by our 18 patients remains unclear. ST398 BSI were diagnosed in patients lacking livestock exposure and were significantly associated with digestive portals of entry (3/18 [16.7%] for ST398 vs. 19/767 [2.5%] for non ST398 BSI; p = .012). This raises the question of possible foodborne human infections. We suggest the need for active surveillance to study and control the spread of this human-adapted subclone increasingly isolated in the hospital setting.

The last words of the Conclusion on the full version are worth noting too:

We found that a digestive portal of entry was much more common among ST398 compared to other S. aureus BSIs, lending weight to the hypothesis of foodborne transmission. Further farm-to-fork studies are required to elucidate the possible role of food, especially retail meat samples including beef, pork and chicken, as a source of human infection.

Monday, 5 December 2011

MRSA in pigs - New report

The white flag is flying over the Royal Veterinary College; well actually is is more like a grubby rag waved from a basement. It's all too late, as they effectively admit.

The Pig Site is reporting EU Research co-ordinated by the RVC

They do not mention MRSA in British pigs, but they do include the following items.

"A European alliance of scientists has confronted the spread of dangerous MRSA strains in the community and in livestock."

"The bacterium however did not escape from the hospitals but emerged, amongst others through antibiotic and zinc use, among live-stock. The eradication of MRSA among live-stock is practically impossible to achieve"

"The bacterium is genetically flexible and has been shown to adapt rather easily to new circumstances. Therefore, MRSA remains a health care threat. A solution is not yet available and prudent use of antibiotics is currently the only option to limit spread as much as possible."

"New research shows close contact needed to catch MRSA from pigs

The resistant bacterium, MRSA ST398, is often associated with pigs but mostly affects people who have regular and close contact with the animals"

There is much more detail which can be reached here

Monday, December 05, 2011
Research: Close Contact to Catch MRSA from Pigs

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Antibiotic Resistance loiters on organic farms.

Bad news for Britain's organic producers' Soil Association from Canada.  Indeed, bad news for us all, bearing in mind other studies recently published that reveal the link between farm and hospital.

The full article and supporting documentation can be reached here

Drug Resistance Loiters on Antibiotic-Free Farms
by Beth Marie Mole on 2 December 2011, 2:47 PM 

Breeding ground. Pig farms breed drug-resistant bacteria that can linger for years after antibiotics are banned.

Livestock farms that stop using antibiotics may still be breeding grounds for drug-resistant germs, according to a new study. Scientists have found that bacteria in a group of Canadian pigs remained mostly impervious to two antibiotics years after farmers stopped dosing the animals. This antibiotic resistance could eventually make its way into hospitals and the human food supply, although experts caution that no link has yet been proved...

Friday, 2 December 2011

MRSA st398 identifiable in hospital by Tetracycline Resistance

That 's one way of identifying 'piggy' MRSA in hospital patients: the hard way - when human antibiotics don't work!

MRSA cc398 is the same strain as MRSA st398 - sometimes called "pig MRSA."

Abstract here

High prevalence of spa types associated with the clonal lineage CC398 among tetracycline-resistant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains in a Spanish hospital.

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2011 Nov 28;

Authors: Lozano C, Rezusta A, Gómez P, Gómez-Sanz E, Báez N, Martin-Saco G, Zarazaga M, Torres C


OBJECTIVES: CC398 (67.3%), CC1 (11.5%), CC5 (11.5%) and CC8 (9.6%). A novel sequence type (ST), ST2077, belonging to CC398 was identified.

Most MRSA CC398 strains were typed as SCCmecV-agrI. In addition to ?-lactam resistance, isolates showed resistance to (gene/number of strains): tetracycline [tet(K)/36, tet(L)/8 and tet(M)/48], macrolides and lincosamides [erm(B)/6, erm(C)/25, erm(T)/2, msr(A)/msr(B)/4 and mph(C)/4], aminoglycosides [aac(6')-Ie-aph(2')-Ia/8, ant(4')-Ia/13 and aph(3')-IIIa/15], trimethoprim [dfrS1/2 and dfrK/3] and mupirocin

Strains investigated for mutations mediating quinolone resistance revealed an S80F exchange in GrlA and different changes in GyrA. Three strains were Panton-Valentine leucocidin-positive (ST8 and ST94) and 41 strains were cna-positive. All MRSA isolates were negative for the genes tst, eta, etb and etd.

Tetracycline resistance could be a good marker for MRSA CC398, although this resistance can also be found in other lineages.

PMID: 22127589 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Danes can trace MRSA st398

The Danes can trace MRSA st398 (cc398) from farm to farm and by implication from farm to hospital.

"Oh ****!" said Britain's vetocracy whilst reaching for the nearest PR bunny.

Abstract here

Epidemiol Infect. 2011 Nov 25:1-6. [Epub ahead of print]
Farm-specific lineages of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex 398 in Danish pig farms.

Espinosa-Gongora C, Larsen J, Moodley A, Nielsen JP, Skov RL, Andreasen M, Guardabassi L.

Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark.



The objective of this study was to investigate the genetic diversity of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clonal complex (CC) 398 using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).

Dust and pigs at five age groups were sampled in six Danish MRSA-positive pig farms. MRSA CC398 was isolated from 284 of the 391 samples tested, including 230 (74%) animal and 54 (68%) environmental samples. PFGE analysis of a subset of 48 isolates, including the six strains previously isolated from farm workers, revealed the existence of farm-specific pulsotypes. With a single exception, human, environmental and porcine isolates originating from the same farm clustered together in the PFGE cluster analysis, indicating that spread of MRSA CC398 in Danish pig farms is mainly due to clonal dissemination of farm-specific lineages that can be discriminated by PFGE.

This finding has important implications for planning future epidemiological studies investigating the spread of CC398 in pig farming.

PMID: 22117120 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Circovirus may render pigs liable to CSF and other diseases

So circovirus decreases the efficiency of CSF- Classical Swine Fever vaccine!

Now let’s go back to 2000. Britain was suffering, a more or less undeclared even, secret, PMWS-PDNS (Circovirus) epidemic and the real thing - CSF, the dreaded Classical Swine Fever, not a vaccine, arrived in Britain.

So circovirus would presumably reduce any natural defences against CSF (and perhaps the follow up FMD – Foot and Mouth epidemic too)

The cheekily named "Gardiner Hypothesis" see above, suggested circovirus renders pigs more liable to other diseases and the extraordinary personal story told  in Stop the World is now explained. 

Porcine Circovirus is a very nasty virus and it has been present in Britain since 1999 rendering the pigs liable to other diseases. It rivals the British government veterinarians for sneaky behaviour and it caught them out in 2000 and 2001.

The CSF and FMD (Foot and Mouth) epidemics were major national disasters, with consequential  animal cruelty, human anguish and huge national financial losses.

This report makes the connection clear:

This PCV2-derived interference may not only allow the invasion of wild-type CSFV in pig farms but also increases the difficulty of CSF prevention and control in CSF endemic areas.”

Abstract here and provisional  full report here.

Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection decreases the efficacy of an attenuated classical swine fever virus (CSFV) vaccine

Yu-Liang Huang, Victor Fei Pang, Chun-Ming Lin, Yi-Chieh Tsai, Mi-Yuan Chia, Ming-Chung Deng, Chia-Yi Changand Chian-Ren Jeng

Veterinary Research 2011, 42:115 doi:10.1186/1297-9716-42-115
Published: 1 December 2011

Abstract (provisional)

The Lapinized Philippines Coronel (LPC) vaccine, an attenuated strain of classical swine fever virus (CSFV), is an important tool for the prevention and control of CSFV infection and is widely and routinely used in most CSF endemic areas, including Taiwan. The aim of this study was to investigate whether PCV2 infection affects the efficacy of the LPC vaccine. Eighteen 6-week-old, cesarean-derived and colostrum-deprived (CDCD), crossbred pigs were randomly assigned to four groups. A total of 105.3 TCID50 of PCV2 was experimentally inoculated into pigs through both intranasal and intramuscular routes at 0 days post-inoculation (dpi) followed by LPC vaccination 12 days later. All the animals were challenged with wild-type CSFV (ALD stain) at 27 dpi and euthanized at 45 dpi. Following CSFV challenge, the LPC-vaccinated pigs pre-inoculated with PCV2 showed transient fever, viremia, and viral shedding in the saliva and feces. The number of IgM+, CD4+CD8-CD25+, CD4+CD8+CD25+, and CD4-CD8+CD25+ lymphocyte subsets and the level of neutralizing antibodies against CSFV were significantly higher in the animals with LPC vaccination alone than in the pigs with PCV2 inoculation/LPC vaccination. In addition, PCV2-derived inhibition of the CSFV-specific cell proliferative response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was demonstrated in an ex vivo experiment. These findings indicate that PCV2 infection decreases the efficacy of the LPC vaccine. This PCV2-derived interference may not only allow the invasion of wild-type CSFV in pig farms but also increases the difficulty of CSF prevention and control in CSF endemic areas.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Animal Antibiotics feeding Human Resistance

Australia is on the trail of antibiotic resistance from livestock.

In Britain? A cross between hoping it will go away if it is ignored and smothered with positive PR  and veterinarians hopelessly arguing the toss and spinning furiously.

What they miss is that the hospitals are looking for someone to blame for a deteriorating situation and the vets are the obvious candidate.

Quite aside from the rights and wrongs, the British vets are massively outnumbered by one of the largest organisations in the world. The National Health Service people also have more and better scientists and resources.

If the veterinarians were in the right, they would be in trouble. But as they are wrong, they stand no chance and are merely prolonging the agony and compounding the guilt.

A decade of cover-up is too long.

Full article here, audio interview here

Health expert calls for investigation of antibiotics in foodchain

Updated November 25, 2011 19:27:00

An emergency medicine expert has called for an investigation into the potential health threat of animals being fed antibiotics to promote growth. Dr Thomas Gottlieb the President of the Australian Society for Infectious Diseases is worried about how much of the drugs are entering the food chain.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Germans count and curb livestock antibiotics

The Germans are tightening up on antibiotic usage in livestock. The following is a brief summary of a US government translation. The full report is available via the url.

Data collection, publication and transparency are of course issues yet to come to the surface in Britain.

The lack of anything sensible  is one of the strongest indicators of civil service cover-ups. It will become a major issue. The black hole in Britain will become ever more obvious as others increase

DEFRA, the British agricultural ministry, have delayed so long in publishing appalling figures, that the government of the day will get publicly thrashed, when they finally have to admit how bad things are in Britain and how long the veterinary cover-up has been going on.

They will then have to do something about purging and restructuring the various government veterinary services. It will save a fortune anyway. Veterinary fiascos, such as BSE (Mad Cow) and, Foot and Mouth, have cost Britain billions.

Full report (US translation) here

The German Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) announced a  package of measures to have a better control on the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry.

The way data is collected and processed will be changed to make the use of antibiotics more  transparent and to develop ways to fight resistance. Data about the use of antibiotics in poultry  production will now also be collected.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

British veterinarians welcome antibiotic curbs

They British veterinarians had to welcome the report, to do otherwise would be suicidal.

The figure of 25,000 people dying each year is sobering.

Where do we go from here?

The pigs are still sick and massive quantities of antibiotics are still used.

The full Farmers Guardian report is  here

Vets welcome Brussels antimicrobial resistance plan

17 November 2011 | By Alistair Driver

VETS have welcomed plans by the European Commission to address the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in human and animal medicine....

...the seriousness of the problem, the Commission said about 25,000 patients were dying each year in the EU from infections caused by drug resistant bacteria, adding €1.5 billion to healthcare costs.

The 12-point action plan reflects the growing belief that high usage of antibiotics in farming, primarily the pig, poultry and dairy sectors, is contributing significantly to the problem.

Pressure is building to tackle the problem...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Porcine Circovirus, the Dam is Bursting

We finally get an admission that tightly packed pigs in insanitary conditions get more circovirus.

The writer could have told them that, and did, years ago.

But the veterinarians insisted that copious expensive antibiotics to control co-infections were the way to go.

So, we got rich vets, sick pigs and antibiotic resistant disease leaving the farms and entering the hospitals, kept quiet by multiple cover-ups. 

The dam is finally bursting. 

It is, perhaps, the biggest scandal of the twenty-first century.

Environment vital in countering PMWS

11 November 2011

Malcolm Flanagan
Researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in the United Kingdom have discovered that farms with the lowest incidence of post weaning multi-systemic syndrome (PMWS) had clean enriched environments with the maximum amount of space possible for pigs. Professor Dirk Werling of the RVC said ...

Porcine Circovirus - Co-existence of Multiple Strains

We have always worried about porcine circovirus and the implications for human health. The treatment of bacterial co-infections to circoviruses with antibiotics gives rise to antibiotic resistant pathogens that impact on human health.

Had the truth been told in Britain in 1999-2001, things would be very different now.

If the truth was told now, things might yet be very different in the future

Co-existence of multiple strains of porcine circovirus type 2 in the same pig from China

Shao-Lun Zhai, Sheng-Nan Chen, Zu-Zhang Wei, Jian-Wu Zhang, Lv Huang, Tao Lin, Cheng Yue, Duo-Liang Ran,Shi-Shan Yuan, Wen-Kang Wei and Jin-Xue Long
For all author emails, please log on.
Virology Journal 2011, 8:517 doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-517
Published: 13 November 2011

Abstract (provisional)

Pigs are often co-infected by different viral strains from the same virus. Up to now, there are few reports about co-existence of different porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) strains in China. The aim of this study was to evaluate it in Chinese swine herds. 118 PCV2 positive DNAs isolated from diseased pigs identified by classic PCR were re-detected using a modified differential PCR assay. The results indicated that co-existence rates of PCV2 were 32.2 % (38/118) in diseased pigs and 0 % (0/41) in asymptomatic pigs. Four PCV2 complete genomes were cloned from two co-infected samples and their nucleotide (nt) identities were 95%-97.3%. The phylogenetic analysis showed that four PCV2 strains were divided into different genotypes, PCV2a, PCV2b, PCV2d and PCV2e, respectively. In addition, co-existence were not detected in 41 serum samples from healthy pigs but PCV2 single infection (31.7%, 13/41) existed. These data revealed that the co-existence of different strains of PCV2 might contribute to the development of more severe clinical symptoms for pigs. This is the first report confirming the co-existence of different PCV2 strains in Chinese swine herds. Meanwhile, this study could help us to understand new infection and prevalence forms of PCV2 clinically.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Foston Pig Farm - the human risks understated

The writer is neither a member nor a supporter of the Soil Association; however, all these points are right as far as they go.

They come from a longer media release celebrating the Soil Association's apparent success in getting the proposed new Foston Mega Pig Farm stopped by the local council.

They fail to mention that “organic” pigs are now just as likely to be a problem, as are rare breeds, and in many cases they understate both the seriousness of the problem and its longevity.

Britain’s pigs have been ill for more than a decade and illness has been spreading into the hospitals for years. The vets, in particular, have been carrying it from farm to farm and from the farm into the community.

We had also noted the Health Protection Agency underplaying the potential risks of Foston, and similar pig farms, by misquoting American research here

The genie of zoonotic superbugs is out of the bottle in Britain and probably will not be forced back in our lifetime. We will have to learn to live, if we, can without the huge benefits of antibiotics, not just for animals but for people too.

The full Soil Association media release may be read here

Key points of this evidence include:
  • pig farming accounts for approximately 60% of all UK farm antibiotic use
  • research shows that the levels of disease and the use of antibiotics both increase as pig farms get bigger
  • larger herd size is linked with higher levels of many diseases in pigs, including some that can cause illness in people
  • for certain bacteria, such as salmonella and campylobacter, most of the antibiotic resistance in human infections comes from farm-animal antibiotic use
  • resistance to antibiotics can transfer between both animals and humans and this occurs more frequently, and with far greater ease, than was previously believed
  • a number of very serious new types of antibiotic resistance have developed in recent years and several of these are increasing in farm animals
  • C. difficile ‘superbug’ bacteria which has been found in hospitals is a growing problem in pigs worldwide, and the latest research shows that at least one strain of the pathogen is now present in British pigs
  • there is growing evidence that C. difficile may be spreading from pig farms to humans through the environment
  • there is concern about the risk of Pig MRSA spreading to the UK; it is now well established that people working with MRSA positive pigs, such as farmers, veterinarians, and even their family members, are at risk of colonisation and infection - there have also been a number of very serious cases and deaths
  • there are real concerns that unless antibiotics are used much more sparingly we will soon find ourselves facing a range of serious diseases in humans and animals that can no longer be treated effectively.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

MRSA st398 in German pigs

A new report reveals that MRSA st398 is widespread on German pig farms, especially the large operations fattening pigs.

In Continental Europe, the usual term is "MRSA cc398" : in the English speaking countries "MRSA st398" is the more usual description.

Britain continues to fail to admit that the strain is present in British pigs and, in the past, has actually denied that British pigs are carrying a form of MRSA known to be dangerous to humans.

The full text of the German research may be found here

Factors associated with the occurrence of MRSA CC398 in herds of fattening pigs in Germany

Published:10 November 2011

Abstract (provisional)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of MRSA in herds of fattening pigs in different regions of Germany, and to determine factors associated with the occurrence of this pathogen...


Overall, 152 of 290 (52%) fattening pig farms tested positive for MRSA...
 ... Identified spa-types were all associated with clonal complex CC398... 
...Logistic regression revealed herd size (large farms OR: 5.4; CI: 2.7-11.2; p<0.05), and production type (wean-to-finish OR: 4.0; CI: 1.6-10.4; p<0.05) as risk factors associated with a positive MRSA finding in fattening pig operations.


MRSA CC398 is widely distributed among herds of fattening pigs in Germany. Farm management plays a crucial role in the dissemination of MRSA with herd size, and production type representing potential major indicators.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

MRSA st398 found in American meat

It has just been announced that MRSA st398 - so called "piggy MRSA" (also termed MRSA cc398 on the continent of Europe) has been found in American meat. It had previous been found in Canadian meat, but not in the USA.
Britain seems to be the only major country with pig production in the Northern Hemisphere that continues to claim that its pigs and pork are MRSA free.
It might be fairer to say "have not withdrawn their claim that British pigs and pork are MRSA free." It has not been repeated for a couple of years, but equally no admission or correction has been made.
MRSA st398 has been found, in children, in Scotland some years ago, but nothing in pigs or pork.
What you won't look for properly, you won't find.
Defra, Britain's infamous agriculture ministry, will not be able to hold out for much longer. They will have to provide data for Britain and an explanation for the long delay.
Tara Smith's explanation of the meaning of the American research is here, with the promise of more to come. Be sure to read the complete blog entry in full here
This is a very important research for Britain too.

MRSA found in Iowa meat

Posted on: November 9, 2011 9:00 AM, by Tara C. Smith
I've blogged previously on a few U.S. studies which investigated methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus in raw meat products (including chicken, beef, turkey, and pork). This isn't just a casual observation as one who eats food--I follow this area closely as we also have done our own pair of food sampling investigations here in Iowa, and will be doing a much larger, USDA-funded investigation of the issue over the next 5 years...
...Why am I rehashing all of this? We have a new paper out examining S. aureus in Iowa meats--and did find for the first time MRSA ST398, as well as MRSA USA300 and MSSA strains including both presumptive "human" and "animal" types. This was just a pilot study and numbers are still fairly small, but enough to say that yes, this is here in the heart of flyover country as well as in the other areas already examined.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Foston Pig Farm - Superbug risks - Discrepancy


A few days ago in our post (here) celebrating the long delayed admission by the British government of the risks to public health from antibiotic resistance arising from pig farms, we quoted from the Health Protection Agency:

“Recent research has found that those living up to 150m downwind of an intensive swine [pig] farming installation could be at risk of adverse human health effects associated with exposure to multi- drug resistant organisms.”

The context is the planning process for a new large indoor pig farm at Foston in Derbyshire opposed by the Soil Association and local residents.

The planning process revealed that the company behind the proposal was testing for MRSA in their pigs, even though the government claims British pigs are clear of MRSA st398.

When we checked back to the American source of the original research, quoted by the Health Protection Agency, which has been available for nearly six years, we found what seems to be an interesting discrepancy:

Bacterial concentrations with multiple antibiotic resistances or multidrug resistance were recovered inside and outside to (at least) 150 m downwind of this facility at higher percentages than upwind. Bacterial concentrations with multiple antibiotic resistances were found within and downwind of the facility even after subtherapeutic antibiotics were discontinued. This could pose a potential human health effect for those who work within or live in close proximity to these facilities. (report here)

In short, the Texans say the the risk is at least 150 m (downwind), the HPA version limits the risk to 150 m.

Both the discrepancy and the reasons are important to the planning process and the health of local residents, including a prison, next door to the proposed new farm. Prisons in the United States have become centres for the spread of MRSA.

This is public health: this matters.