Wednesday, 24 July 2013

MRSA: Farming up trouble


Familiar names, familiar subject, familiar problems.

Just a taster from a long article in "Nature."

Be sure to read the whole here


NATURE | NEWS FEATURE

MRSA: Farming up trouble


Microbiologists are trying to work out whether use of antibiotics on farms is fuelling the human epidemic of drug-resistant bacteria.

Beth Mole
24 July 2013

... MRSA has troubled hospitals around the world for more than four decades and has been infecting people outside of health-care settings since at least 1995 (see Nature 482, 23-25; 2012). It causes around
94,000 infections and 18,000 deaths annually in the United States. In the European Union, more than 150,000 people are estimated to contract MRSA each year. Its first appearance on a US farm signalled the
expansion of what many believe is a dangerous source of human infection.

Male investigated the infections with Tara Smith...

...Her findings could help to end a raging debate about whether farms' use of antibiotics is contributing to the rise of drug-resistant bacterial infections in humans. Scientists and health experts fear that it is, and that drug-resistant bacteria from farms are escaping via farmworkers or meat...

...The major problem has been lack of data. Many farmers are reluctant to allow scientists access to their facilities, and farmworkers - many of whom, in the United States, are undocumented immigrants - are wary of anyone who might want to sample them. But Smith and a small group of researchers are starting to fill the void. They have "really shaped the state of knowledge in the United States"...