Thursday, 25 July 2013

Why we must keep a close eye on animal health

We are now getting exactly the same points made in different words from a wide variety of respectable sources, this one from within the UK.

Defra, Britain's agricultural ministry, are going to have another massive problem shortly.

Everyone is going to want to know why, almost alone in the world, Britain’s pigs do not have MRSA st398, according to Defra’s veterinarians.

They will then check this blog and/or and find that the strange absence has been noted many times over the past decade.

They will draw their own conclusions.

'The Conversation' report in full here

 24 July 2013, 6.02am BST

…In 2005 a new type of MRSA associated with livestock called ST398 was identified. Initially identified in French pig farmers, it has now been widely reported in pigs and other livestock, and in farmers, vets and slaughterhouse workers in contact with livestock. It’s also been found in cow’s milk in the UK (don’t worry: the pasteurisation will kill it). Small outbreaks of ST398 have taken place in the wider human population, such as at a nursing home and a hospital ward in the Netherlands. The success of ST398 as a pathogen has actually increased the overall burden of MRSA infections in some countries in Europe.

Of particular importance is that many ST398 strains found in livestock and people in close contact with livestock are resistant to tetracycline antibiotics, widely used in livestock production. Strains of the bacteria isolated from people with no contact with livestock are not resistant to tetracycline. This suggests the resistance to the drug stems from its farming use…
…One thing is clear from our current understanding of zoonotic infections past and present, is that human and animal health are inherently linked.