Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Effect of Circovirus on Pig Immune Systems

It is a pleasure to see some science on pig epidemics being done in Britain and published.

Circovirus and PMWS were always dangerous subjects in Britain because of the potential significance to the 2000 - 2001 epidemics of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) and, Foot and Mouth (FMD).

Britain, and the world, were not told that these disastrous epidemics occurred first in Britain in pig herds already sick with Porcine Circovirus and with damaged immune systems, before later spreading throughout the country. The health status of the pigs before CSF struck in 2000 seems to some kind of state secret, then and now.

Well, they did have to cancel a General Election in the ensuing chaos.

The habit of British civil service to cover up their mistakes is well noted elsewhere. This was a bad one and the government veterinarians blamed the innocent.

The key lies in the last sentence "The findings of this study highlight the potential role of the immune status of the sow on the occurrence of PMWS."

Veterinary Record doi:10.1136/vr.100276
·         Papers

Porcine circovirus type 2 infection before and during an outbreak of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome on a pig farm in the UK

1.     B. Wieland, DrMedVet, PhD1, 
2.     D. Werling, DrMedVet, PhD, MRCVS1, 
3.     A. Nevel, BVetMed, PhD, MRCVS1, 
4.     S. Grierson, BSc (Hons), PhD1, 
5.     A. Rycroft, BSc (Hons), PhD, C.Biol., FSB, FRCPath1,
6.     T. G. Demmers, PhD1, 
7.     A. J. C. Cook, BVetMed, MSc, MRCVS2, 
8.     S. H. Done, BA, DVetMed, PhD, Dipl ECPath, Dipl ECPHM, FRCPath, FRCVS, AHVLA, Thirsk, UK3, 
9.     D. Armstrong, BVetMed, MRCVS3 and 
10.   C. M. Wathes, BSc, PhD, FIAgrE1
+Author Affiliations
1.        Epidemiology and Veterinary Public Health, Royal Veterinary College, London, UK
2.        Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), Weybridge, UK
3.        BPEX Ltd, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, UK

The presence of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2) and other pathogens before and during an outbreak of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PWMS) in pigs is evaluated in this study. At the time of the outbreak on a large commercial pig farm in the UK, serum samples and data were collected in two independent on-going research projects, one in weaned pigs and the other in sows. Serum samples of growing pigs and sows were PCV-2-antibody and PCR positive before and during the PMWS outbreak. Upon sequencing, PCV-2 isolates collected before the outbreak were identified as PCV-2a, and isolates collected during the outbreak were identified as PCV-2b, suggesting a shift of PCV-2 genotypes present on the farm. Pigs in the weaner study were from sows originating from different breeders and an association of sow origin and PCV-2 serostatus in offspring was found. Further, pigs had higher odds to be PCV-2 antigen positive if the sow was PCV-2 antibody positive around farrowing, the sow was of higher parity, and were less likely to test antigen positive if the sow was sourced from a particular breeder. The findings of this study highlight the potential role of the immune status of the sow on the occurrence of PMWS.
·         Accepted March 29, 2012.
·         Published Online First 29 May 2012

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

MRSA st398 (cc398) in 40 percent German pig people

Germany, like most sensible countries, admits MRSA st398 (cc398) in their pigs - and also a very high 40 percent of people visiting pig farms on a regular basis, but the veterinary claims of little risk to humans are less convincing.

The people visiting, and that includes veterinarians, carry disease from farm to farm, and home to their families.

Britain's government vets have not only decided that MRSA st398 is harmless to humans, but  have decided not to find any in British pigs.

Britain is foolish indeed to entrust the health of their children and old people, the safety of the hospitals, to a failing corrupt veterinary industry.

Who put Britain's government veterinarians, the people who brought the world Mad Cow and mishandled Foot and Mouth, in charge of public health?

Full news report here (mechanical translation)
Resistant bacteria in almost all pigsties
Recent studies estimate risk to humans but is very low

Berlin (DAPD). The potentially dangerous drug-resistant germ MRSA is found in almost all pigsties and"colonized" 40 percent of people who go there regularly. But a dangerous disease, it is very rare. These are the results of new studies on the spread of the bacterium, which can not be fought with conventional antibiotics, such as Professor Thomas Blaha from the Veterinary University of Hanover on Monday said the news agency DAPD.The findings of the research will be presented on Tuesday (May 22) at a press conference in Berlin.
Overall, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection before three years have been five projects commissioned as Blaha said. The College in Hanover examined the spread of MRSA (methicillin Staphylococcus aureus) in pig and pig breeding in Germany, the Free University of Berlin, the presence of the pathogen in the dust inside and outside the stables, and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment took on the molecular fine typing of bacterial strains in samples of all involved experts. There are three types of MRSA, which come into contact with human HA-MRSA is spreading in the hospital ("hospital germ"), CA-MRSA ST398 in the environment and animal husbandry.

The bottom line would be given all-clear, said Blaha, who heads the epidemiology branch of the Veterinary School of Hannover. 98 to 99 percent of the tested bacteria belonged to a single bacterial strain, namely, ST398, which was widespread in the animal populations, but in humans is "very, very rarely causes disease." The professor explained that although the seed was detected in 40 percent of people who are closest to the animals in the factories, but he may die from the gastrointestinal tract and could only in contact with open wounds are dangerous.

One of the main findings of the studies is that the germs are not transmitted over the air to humans, as the professor pointed out. He confirmed a report of the NDR, that up to 60 percent of the tested conventional farms MRSA germs were detected in the dust. Among the organic farms compared to 25 percent. Professor Blaha explained that the reason that organic farms operated less animal trade. It had nothing to do with the fact that they are better shielded against the spread of the pathogen would be....

Friday, 18 May 2012

MRSA st398 (cc398) in pig herds - endemic

The Netherlands and Denmark provide more and more confirmation of the relevance and persistence of MRSA st398 (cc398) in pig herds.

But still a news back-out in Britain, apart from long outdated claim, following a perfunctory examination of a few dust samples forced upon Britain by the EU, that no MRSA has been found in British pigs. 

Abstract here

Longitudinal study on transmission of MRSA CC398 within pig herds

Els M BroensCarmen Espinosa-GongoraElisabeth AM GraatNadia VendrigPeter J Van Der WolfLuca GuardabassiPatrick ButayeJens P NielsenMart CM De Jong and Arjen W Van De Giessen
For all author emails, please log on.
BMC Veterinary Research 2012, 8:58 doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-58
Published: 18 May 2012

Abstract (provisional)


Since the detection of MRSA CC398 in pigs in 2004, it has emerged in livestock worldwide. MRSA CC398 has been found in people in contact with livestock and thus has become a public health issue. Data from a large-scale longitudinal study in two Danish and four Dutch pig herds were used to quantify MRSA CC398 transmission rates within pig herds and to identify factors affecting transmission between pigs.


Sows and their offspring were sampled at varying intervals during a production cycle. Overall MRSA prevalence of sows increased from 33% before farrowing to 77% before weaning. Overall MRSA prevalence of piglets was > 60% during the entire study period. The recurrent finding of MRSA in the majority of individuals indicates true colonization or might be the result of contamination. Transmission rates were estimated using a Susceptible-Infectious-Susceptible (SIS-)model, which resulted in values of the reproduction ratio (R0) varying from 0.24 to 8.08. Transmission rates were higher in pigs treated with tetracyclins and beta-lactams compared to untreated pigs implying a selective advantage of MRSA CC398 when these antimicrobials are used. Furthermore, transmission rates were higher in pre-weaning pigs compared to post-weaning pigs which might be explained by an age-related susceptibility or the presence of the sow as a primary source of MRSA CC398. Finally, transmission rates increased with the relative increase of the infection pressure within the pen compared to the total infection pressure, implying that within-pen transmission is a more important route compared to between-pen transmission and transmission through environmental exposure.


Our results indicate that MRSA CC398 is able to spread and persist in pig herds, resulting in an endemic situation. Transmission rates are affected by the use of selective antimicrobials and by the age of pigs.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Danes test for MRSA st398 before hospital entry

North Jutland in Denmark is introducing tests for MRSA st398 (cc398) for people in contact with live pigs before entering hospital.

Thousands will be tested including veterinarians, pig farmers and their families in an attempt to protect the hospitals and frail patents from the introduction and spread of disease.

Britain’s government veterinarians, after many years, still claim that British pigs do not have MRSA st398, so nothing is done to protect the hospitals or the patients.

Thousands of North Jutland should be tested for contagious bacteria before they are hospitalized.

16th May 2012, at. 09:44 | By: Ritzau

Bacterial Check on admission of pig farmers

16th May 2012 08:53 News

"It may seem violent, but people in agriculture understand the need when we explain it to them."


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

MRSA st398 hits Dutch nursing home

There is not much argument any more, about the dangers of MRSA st398 (cc398) to humans or its presence in pig herds.

Apart from in Britain where corrupt government veterinarians continue to cover-up MRSA st398 in pigs and provide inadequate information on protection to the hospitals.

Interestingly, a complicated row broke out yesterday about secrecy over health threats. The British government admitted keeping information on pandemic threats secret, despite transparency obligations. The excuse seems to be to prevent panics.

Critics suggest that it is to protect crooked backs. 

The Dutch don’t panic, the Germans don’t panic, the Americans don’t panic, all admitting MRSA st398 in their pig herds.

Does anyone seriously suggest the British would panic?

The public might decide the culprits need dragging before the Courts. That might cause a panic.

Details here

- We describe an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ST398 in a nursing home in the ... Seven residents and 4 healthcare workers were identified with MRSA ST398, but 2 of the healthcare workers carried other strains. This study demonstrates that MRSA ST398 can spread in nursing homes.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Britain publishes about MRSA st398 (cc398) - elsewhere

The irony strikes, but perhaps it is more important than that.

The Journal of British vets publishes about MRSA st398 in Holland and Denmark – a disease which the government veterinarians claim does not exist in pigs in Britain.

But it is a fairly new departure to publish anything on MRSA st398 in Britain. 

Independent pig vets knowing that the government vets were running a cover-up, might well be tempted to encourage the publication of something, anything, to be able to stay well clear of any cover-up

The research itself, published elsewhere earlier, really confirms the our long held view that live movements are the key to this and other pig diseases – and their spread into humans and human hospitals.

There has been a vast increase in the movement of livestock, semen and embryos internationally in the last few years, much on recklessly issued veterinary health certificates.

The knowledge that trade politics and veterinary fees and protection drives the impetus to blame anything other than live animal movements, and that is likely to be strongly supported by protectionist farmers and their organisations wanting to blame meat imports, is pure gold.

In a way, that last paragraph sums up the battle of the last years. It is applicable not just in Britain, but worldwide and an understanding has a massive potential for improving human health.

The world has been misled and the children die.

Details here

Veterinary Record doi:10.1136/vr.100704
·         Papers

Transmission of MRSA CC398 strains between pig farms related by trade of animals

1.     C. Espinosa-Gongora, DV1, 
2.     E. M. Broens, DVM, Ph3, 
3.     A. Moodley, MSc, Ph1, 
4.     J. P. Nielsen2 and
5.     L. Guardabassi, DVM, Ph1
+Author Affiliations
1.        Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
2.        Department of Large Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg C, Denmark
3.        Quantitative Veterinary Epidemiology Group, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
1.     E-mail for
Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clonal complex (CC) 398 is a genetic lineage associated with livestock, especially pigs. The authors investigated the role of pig trade in the transmission of MRSA CC398 between farms using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), a highly discriminatory method for strain typing. PFGE analysis of 58 MRSA isolates from a retrospective study in the Netherlands and a prospective study in Denmark provided molecular evidence that the strains present in five of the eight recipient farms were indistinguishable from those occurring in the corresponding supplying farm. The molecular typing data confirm the findings of a previous risk-analysis study indicating that trading of colonised pigs is a vehicle for transmission of MRSA CC398.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

MRSA ST398 goes from pigs to cattle

The significance of this Dutch research to Britain is not immediately apparent, but it seems real enough.

We know that British cattle have  MRSA and that this has reached the milk. We also know that this was covered-up for many months.

People have been infected, presumably either during the milking process or drinking the 2 percent of raw  (unpasteurised) milk still available in Britain.

The evidence comes directly from the House of Commons record where the Minister has been questioned by an alert MP nearly a year ago.
is the extract from Hansard ( the official record of the proceedings of Parliament )

Our previous articles cover the development of this scandal.

here  3 June 2011

MRSA in British milk and farm workers 

and here 6 June 2011

E. Coli in Sprouts and MRSA in milk

and here 18 June 2011

MRSA in Milk, Battle breaks out in Britain. Crooks versus Cranks.

As the BBC reported here in 2011 ... "A new strain of the MRSA "superbug" has been found in British cows and is believed to be infecting humans"...

Now it seems that MRSA st398 also travels from pigs to cattle. Clearly it may not be treatment of cattle with antibiotics that may be producing the MRSA in cows and milk. It may be the presence of pigs and cattle on the same farm.

The Dutch research can be found here

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2012, 54:28 doi:10.1186/1751-0147-54-28
Mehri Tavakol (
Richard GM Olde Riekerink (
Otlis C Sampimon (
Willem JB Van Wamel (
Alex Van Belkum (
Theo JGM Lam (
ISSN 1751-0147
Article type Brief communication
Submission date 21 February 2012
Acceptance date 1 May 2012
Publication date 1 May 2012
Article URL
This peer-reviewed article was published immediately upon acceptance. It can be downloaded,
printed and distributed freely for any purposes (see copyright notice below

During routinely screening (50.000 milk samples on an annual basis) 14 MRSA ST398
strains were identified in the period of January 2008 to September 2008 in 14 different dairy
herds located in the provinces Overijssel and Gelderland the Netherland. Molecular analysis
was performed by Cfr9I PFGE, ST398-specific diagnostic PCR, spa typing, SCCmec typing
and Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) gene PCR. The molecular analyses of 14 MRSA
(one MRSA strain per herd) strains revealed that all strains belong to ST398 with 3 closely
related spa types (t011, t108 and t889, all commonly found in pigs) and carry 2 different
SCCmec types, IVa and V. All MRSA strains were resistant to two or more classes of
antibiotics and also PVL negative. The majority of farms (n = 9, 64%) harboured combined
livestock with both cows and pigs present. Our study contributes to the growing evidence that
MRSA ST398 is transmitted among various animal species and can be considered as an
etiological agent of mastitis in dairy cows.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Human MRSA st398 carriage linked to the live pigs in slaughterhouse

The Dutch in the lead again with Britain absent from pig MRSA research. 

Britain does not have MRSA in its pigs or pork, because Britain's government veterinarians did not want to find it and did not look properly. They only looked when the EU forced their hand, took a few dust samples and said "nothing found."

Britain's pigs were declared free of MRSA.

Pretty well every other civilised country has found a growing human health risk from MRSA in pigs, but not Britain.

Sooner or later they are going to have to own up. Then the questions over their extraordinary misbehaviour, going back the triple epidemics of circovirus, CSF and FMD will flood in. 

They don’t have any sensible answers.

Abstract of BMJ paper here

Occup Environ Med doi:10.1136/oemed-2011-100069
·         Exposure assessment
·         Original article

Livestock-associated MRSA ST398 carriage in pig slaughterhouse workers related to quantitative environmental exposure

1.     Maarten J Gilbert1, 
2.     Marian E H Bos1, 
3.     Birgitta Duim2, 
4.     Bert A P Urlings3,4, 
5.     Lourens Heres3,
6.     Jaap A Wagenaar2,5, 
7.     Dick J J Heederik1,6
+Author Affiliations
1.        1Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
2.        2Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
3.        3VION Food Group, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
4.        4Animal Sciences Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
5.        5Central Veterinary Institute, Wageningen UR, Lelystad, The Netherlands
6.        6Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
1.     Correspondence toDr Marian E H Bos, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, PO BOX 80178, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands;
1.      Contributors MJG, MEHB, BAPU, LH, JAW and DJJH were involved in conception and design of the study. MJG, MEHB and LH collected the samples and data. MJG, MEHB and DJJH cleaned and statistically analysed the data. MJG, MEHB, BD, JAW and DJJH interpreted the data. MJG and MEHB performed laboratory analyses. BD and JAW developed real-time PCR targeting ST398. MJG, MEHB, BD, JAW and DJJH interpreted the results of the laboratory analysis. MJG, MEHB, JAW and DJJH drafted the paper. MJG, MEHB, BD, BAPU, LH, JAW and DJJH revised the draft paper.
·         Accepted 8 March 2012
·         Published Online First 27 April 2012


Objectives To assess livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) carriage among workers in pig slaughterhouses and assess associated risk factors, including occupational exposure to LA-MRSA.
Methods A cross-sectional study in three Dutch pig slaughterhouses was undertaken. Nasal swabs of participants were taken. Nasal swabs and surface wipes, air and glove samples were screened for presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA was quantitatively determined on gloves and in air samples by culturing and real-time PCR.
Results 11 of 341 (3.2%) participants were identified as nasal MRSA carriers. MRSA-positive workers were predominantly found at the start of the slaughter process. Major risk factors for carriage were working in the lairage and working in the scalding and dehairing area. Most nasal isolates (73%) belonged to the LA-MRSA clone ST398. MRSA ST398-positive environmental samples were found throughout the slaughter process. A clear decrease was seen along the slaughterline in the number of MRSA-positive samples and in the MRSA amount per sample.
Conclusions This study showed that working in the lairage area or scalding and dehairing area were the major risk factors for MRSA carriage in pig slaughterhouse workers, while the overall prevalence of MRSA carriage is low. Occupational exposure to MRSA decreased along the slaughterline, and the risk of carriage showed a parallel decrease.