Thursday, 11 August 2011

A year since MRSA found in Swedish pigs

We can continue to be amazed that Defra, Britain's agricultural ministry, are still getting away with avoiding finding MRSA in British pigs.

They are going to have a hell of a job owning up to sick pigs now. The lowest production figures per sow in Western Europe give the game away. They are difficult to hide and impossible to explain away.

Britain's veterinary establishment is going to come under hostile scrutiny when finally they are forced to admit the truth.

Link to Swedish radio transcript translated here


National News

Onsdag 10 augusti 2011 kl 15:11 (Radio Sweden)
    “Bacteria spreads between humans and animals”
Multi-resistant bacteria pig study launched (3:53)

It has been exactly a year since the first case of MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus was first discovered in Swedish pigs. Now a new study is underway to see how prevalent the disease is.
MRSA is resistant to some of the antibiotics commonly used in humans.
Helle Unnerstad, a veterenarian working at the National Veterinary Institute, says MRSA is not a big threat to human health in Sweden, but that it might be a risk for people working with a lot of pigs.
Today no one has any idea how many animals have MRSA in Sweden. That is why the National Veterinary Institute and the Swedish Animal Health Service is starting a study to answer that question.
Sten-Olof Dimander is the managing director for the Swedish Animal Health Service, a company owned by the large meat producing firms in Sweden.
Dimander says his company’s job is to assure that animals used in meat production are of high quality.
The study they are doing will look at the sixty breeding farms in Sweden that produce baby pigs for the rest of Sweden’s pig farms.
“So if we can screen these sixty farms then hopefully we can see that these farms are free from MRSA and then we can ensure that slaughter pigs are also free from MRSA,” he says.
But history has shown that once MRSA enters a country, it’s hard to minimize its spread.
Bjorn Olsen, a professor at the Department of Infectious Diseases at Uppsala University hospital, researches antibiotic resistance. He says humans are to blame for the spread of MRSA. “If you have a big monoculture of several thousand pigs in a big barn you’ll inevitably have infections in that population and then you treat them by increasing the amount of antibiotics,” he says. “This promotes the development of MRSA.”
But Sten-Olof Dimander at the Swedish Animal Health Service says this is how modern pig production is done today.
With the continued growth of modern farming practices and humans’ increasing appetite for animal products, experts say it will only become more difficult to stop the spread of infectious diseases like MRSA.