Saturday, 19 March 2011

MRSA in farms and communities

EU studies on the increasing threat of MRSA in livestock and the methods of transmission from farm to farm look set to bring little comfort to the veterinary industry.

Not only do vets cause MRSA by prescription of antibiotics, but they are also being investigated for spreading it from farm to farm, to other vets at the innumerable international conferences and even to their own families.

The very last words in this report will bring a cold guilty feeling to many a veterinarian used to basking in the favourable publicity generated by a powerful public relation's machine.

But this is not James Herriot and "All Creatures Great and Small" - this is real life where hard business practices rule and veterinary fortunes are made from prescribing vast quantities of antibiotics to livestock, despite the known risks.

“spreading from common professional contacts.”

has the last word on a gathering public health crisis.

It has long been obvious from Continental and North American studies that vets were both catching and carrying MRSA, make them a logical route for the problem to move from continent to continent and from farm to farm.

All vets should be tested for MRSA and some will have to be quarantined.

Farm assurance audits will have to be stopped too. All these unnecessary expensive visitors from farm to farm can spread disease dangerous to humans.

This is not like other livestock diseases impacting animals only. This is an international public health crisis.

Full report here

Bacteria strains set up house in farms and communities

Bacterial infections present many treatment challenges. These become even more complicated when new strains arise in new, unconfined locations. European researchers are working on strategies to combat these emerging strains.

The incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has until recently been limited to hospitals (HA-MRSA). Now, increasing reports of community and farm-acquired MRSA (CA- and FA-MRSA) are changing the way MRSA is being studied. Researchers have yet to find an explanation for this development, and there are no remedies currently available to contain the spread.

The EU-funded project 'Control of community-acquired MRSA: rationale and development of counteractions' (Concord) is working to explain this phenomenon and facilitate the development of effective strategies against the new emergence. ...

...To date, the necessary tools for analysing microarray data have been put in place, and a validation of the microarray for expression studies has been performed. CA-MRSA and FA-MRSA isolates have been collected from humans and farm animals in 14 EU countries and typed. Results showed a high genetic diversity among CA-MRSA, and CA-MRSA belonging to FA-MRSA lineages have been discovered.

A discrete-time, stochastic mathematical model has been developed to study the dynamics of FA-MRSA transmission between pig farms. This is important for managing infection control and can give further insights into MRSA, thus offering important advantages for human and veterinary clinical practice. The model concentrates on three mechanisms of how MRSA are colonised on farms: by animals bought from MRSA-positive farms, local spreading by infected wildlife and spreading from common professional contacts.


Information Source: Result from the EU funded FP7-HEALTH programme