Tuesday, 30 July 2013
A long piece in the New York Times on human urinary tract infections and the work taking place by Lance Price in Arizona to track the pathogens back to specific meats on the supermarket shelves.
Everything seems to point to a close connection with antibiotic use in farming, genetic sequencing is expected to provide the final proof: a real "Cold Case" situation.
Then, if not before, Defra's many cover-ups, in Britain, will have to be properly investigated.
Full New York Times report here
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
Published: July 29, 2013
...There is broad consensus that overuse of antibiotics has caused growing resistance to the medicines. Many scientists say evidence is mounting that heavy use of antibiotics to promote faster growth in farm animals is a major culprit, creating a reservoir of drug resistant bugs that are finding their way into communities. More than 70 percent of all the antibiotics used in the United States are given to animals.
Agribusiness groups disagree and say the main problem is overuse of antibiotic treatments for people. Bugs rarely migrate from animals to people, and even when they do, the risk they pose to human health is negligible, the industry contends.
Scientists say genetic sequencing will bring greater certainty to the debate. They will be able to trace germs in people to their origins, be it from a farm animal or other patients in a hospital. Representative Louise Slaughter, a Democrat from New York who has pushed for legislation to control antibiotic use on farms, said such evidence would be the “smoking gun” that would settle the issue...
Saturday, 27 July 2013
Live exports (and imports) and the reckless certification and control thereof will now be the prime suspects for the international movement of animal and zoonotic disease.
'Blame someone else, preferably innocent,' along with IIIIM (imaginary illegally imported infected meat) was yesterday's scam.
The massive recent increases in international movements of germplasm, that is live animals, semen and embryos, fuelled many a fortune. Human health has paid the price.
Full Farmer' Weekly article here
Saturday 27 July 2013 06:00
A syndicate of pure-breed poultry enthusiasts in Australia has decided to cull a quarantined flock imported from the UK, after salmonella was discovered.
The 10-year endeavour, which hoped to introduce new bloodlines into Australian pure breeds, cost an estimated AUS$500,000 (£300,400) and ended in disaster following the discovery of four birds with salmonella pullorum...
Thursday, 25 July 2013
24 July 2013, 6.02am BST
Wednesday, 24 July 2013
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
Microbiologists are trying to work out whether use of antibiotics on farms is fuelling the human epidemic of drug-resistant bacteria.
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"...
We were right when we started to campaign in Britain to preserve the rights of people to produce their own food. Someone had to put up a fight against an incompetent, devious and sometimes criminal veterinary regime in Britain and elsewhere.
It is a campaign that has taken us through many troubles, smears, attempted intimidation and to unexpected places.
Find the full report from the Moscow Times here
Government to Ban Pigs on Private Farms
Fifty-five cases of the deadly virus have been reported as of mid-July, Prime Minister said at a Monday meeting with deputy prime ministers...
...His deputy proposed a set of measures to address this situation, including federal enforcement of quarantine, putting biological waste disposal sites in order, implementing a system for tracking the movement of livestock and animal products within the country, and instituting a ban on pig breeding for all organizations that fail to comply with biological control requirements.
Recognizing that taking pigs away from small private farms could be "a sensitive issue," (he) said replacements should be provided for those whose livelihood might be damaged as a result.
Russia's swine breeding industry has made strides in recent years, with the country now considering exporting pork...
...But this is due to the increasing number of major enterprises that have entered the business and not to small private farms, which are gradually declining in importance.
Saturday, 13 July 2013
Reform of the prescription of antibiotics for use in livestock is now inevitable.
The orthodoxy, worldwide, is tilting rapidly to recognise the threat and to try to do something about it.
It is sad that it took so long, and that such shameful methods were used to ensure that critics, of the practice trying to force reform, were deliberately smeared and harassed in Britain.
An investigation and enquiry in Britain is inevitable over the lost years: the years that probably cannot be recovered.
Anyway, official Australia starts to join the clamour to stop "misuse and overuse" in animal husbandry.
That's a big deal for a country where livestock is a massively important business.
Full Guardian news report here.
Report says there is 'a genuine threat of humanity returning to an era where mortality due to common infections is rife'
guardian.co.uk, Friday 12 July 2013 08.35 BST
A report from the Office of the Chief Scientist points to a 'collapse' in research and development of new antibiotics as an area of significant concern.
The growth of antibiotic-resistant infections represents a "looming public health issue" for Australia that requires "urgent" new funding to prevent deaths from minor ailments such as sore throats and cut knees, the country's top scientist has warned.
A report by the Office of the Chief Scientist (pdf) states there is "a genuine threat of humanity returning to an era where mortality due to common infections is rife".
The paper blames the "misuse and overuse" of antibiotics, such as for animal husbandry, for driving up resistance levels in humans...
..."We need clear restrictions on last-line antibiotics so that they aren't used on animals..."
NPR (that's American National Public Radio) picks up on the antibiotics in pigs' crisis. As it is radio, you can listen as well as read this long report. It deals properly with the issue of antibiotic use to deal with co-infections to viral disease.
The development of the scandal in Britain is littered with conspiracy, resulting cover-ups, attempted smears, intimidation and harassment.
Much information has long been deliberately removed from the WWW.
To quote a dissident veterinarian "First of all, this kind of case may not happen often, but it's a big deal if it happens to you"
We don't even think it is uncommon and the crisis is deepening everywhere, not least in Britain
Report in full here.
by DAN CHARLES
July 11, 2013 5:51 PM
...There's a passionate but often confusing debate about this. Here at The Salt, we've decided to spend some time digging into this issue to provide more clarity. (To be honest, we needed a little clarity ourselves.)...
...He won't try to treat the flu directly, but he does try to keep it from leading to more deadly bacterial infections. So he's giving all the pigs in this barn two different antibiotics in their drinking water: tetracycline, which is an older antibiotic; and tylvalosin, a newer drug, part of the class of antibiotics called macrolides, which includes the human drug azithromycin...
...This pattern of antibiotic use is fairly typical. Most chicken farmers, pig farmers and beef producers use antibiotics to treat disease, prevent disease and promote faster growth. The percentage of antibiotics used for growth promotion is a matter of dispute, because the Food and Drug Administration's annual report on antibiotic use in farm animals doesn't provide that data. Some critics have claimed that it makes up most antibiotic use on the farm. A survey of antibiotic use in the pork industry found that the share was about 20 percent.
It all adds up to a statistic that shocks many people, and it's quoted often by critics of antibiotic use on the farm: 80 percent of all the antibiotics in the United States go into farm animals...
But this is where the big argument starts. Scientists disagree about whether this is something that we should worry about.
The worry is not so much that antibiotics will be in the meat we eat...
...The concern is around a different risk: That using antibiotics on the farm will mean that these drugs won't work when we humans need them, because in theory, the more an antibiotic is given to animals, the more quickly bacteria will adapt and become resistant to it...
...That's the risk many people working in public health say is very real. But there's passionate disagreement about how worrisome it is, and what we should do about it.
On the one hand, we have Scott Hurd, a veterinarian at Iowa State
University who's generally sympathetic to meat producers. He points out that it's not enough just to show that something can happen. "In order to make effective, science-based decisions, we have to move beyond the 'cans' to actually calculating the probabilities," he says.
Think of all the things that have to come together before this actually would happen, he says...
...The point is, this whole chain of events is rare, Hurd says. It's not a big danger to the public. "All published, peer-reviewed scientific articles to date have demonstrated negligible risk from on-farm antibiotic use," he says.
Gail Hansen, a veterinarian who is now working with the Pew Health Group and a critic of antibiotic use on the farm, is unimpressed by Hurd's analysis. "If you just look at - does this antibiotic, given to this animal, make this person sick, so we can't treat them with that same antibiotic - that's such a very narrow piece of this whole interconnected puzzle," she says.
First of all, this kind of case may not happen often, but it's a big deal if it happens to you, she says.
Much more follows. It is a long report.
Friday, 12 July 2013
When National Geographic photographers get arrested for photographing a feed-lot from the air in Kansas, someone has something they are not keen to advertise!
Anyway, over to Maryn McKenna and her round-up of the latest developments in the gathering storm, including a summary of positions between two of the main protagonists, very senior and influential in Britain, in the BMJ.
As always read the whole to get a fair picture.
We (Animal-Epidemics) continue to hold that MRSA st398 is in British pigs for years and has been wilfully not found by Defra, the British agricultural ministry.
Full McKenna article here
BY MARYN MCKENNA07.12.138:30 AM
I promised to catch up on some of the other research that has been published on the flow of MRSA (and other resistant organisms) between farm animals and farm workers as a result of farm antibiotic use.
Before I do that, though, I want to nod toward two other great pieces published on this. First, Mark Bittman examined this issue closely at the New York Times. And Clare Leschin-Hoar also covered the new research at Take Part. (Bonus: Don’t miss her dissection of the news that a National Geographic photographer was arrested in Kansas after taking pictures of a feedlot — from the air.)
Next, I promised I’d revisit the paper by Tara Smith and group on antibiotic-resistant bacteria on farms and in farm personnel. This research was published in May, but it has been a long time coming. Now that it is out, it is an important addition to the still-sparse literature on livestock MRSA and the influence of farm antibiotic use on antibiotic resistance...
...As a reminder, Smith and her colleagues were the first to identify livestock MRSA, or MRSA ST398 for short, in pigs and pig-farm workers in the United States, after it had already been identified broadly in the European Union and also in Canada. That first study in 2009 was small and they wanted to do a larger one. Here from their abstract is what they looked for and found:
... Based on genotyping, spa type t034, a common livestock associated variant, was predominant among both human and swine isolates. These results confirm the presence of LA-MRSA in pigs and swine farm workers in the USA, but the prevalence found is relatively low compared with European studies...
... The question has been, how common is MRSA ST398, a strain of drug-resistant staph that can be linked back to farm drug use by its specific resistance signature? ...
... Out of 31 people in the group who carried some strain of MRSA, 21 were carrying the livestock strain...
...As I mentioned, livestock MRSA has a specific genetic signature — resistance to tetracycline — that has been interpreted to be the result of tetracycline use in swine-raising. (Tetracycline resistance is unusual in human MRSA because tetracycline isn’t commonly prescribed for the infection. When it appears, it may be because the gene for tetracycline resistance has traveled into the bacterium as part of a set of genes conferring resistance to several antibiotics at once.) There is an interesting discussion in Smith’s paper of whether on-farm antibiotic use is in fact responsible, or whether other factors are influencing the staph strains; but it is complex enough to leave for another post.
Meanwhile: that antibiotic use on farms causes the emergence ofmantibiotic resistance is supposed to be settled science at this point...
...But a piece in the new BMJ captures that for many people, notably in agriculture and veterinary pharma, the question isn’t settled at all. The colloquy between physician David Wallinga and veterinarian
David G.S. Burch, titled “Does adding routine antibiotics to animal feed pose a serious risk to human health?”, does a great job of capturing how far apart the two sides remain. The colloquy is open
access and I urge you to read it. Quick excerpts that capture the two authors’ points of view:
Wallinga: “Routine antibiotics are not necessary for animal health. Pasture based production was the norm before antibiotics. Industrial style meat production, in which animals are confined in close quarters and fattened on soy and maize based feeds, also is possible without routine antibiotics… Almost every European and North American public health authority agrees: routine antibiotic use in animal food production likely worsens the epidemic of resistance.”
Burch: “Given that the critical antimicrobials in human medicine are not used in animal feed, that regulatory authorities conduct thorough assessments of the risk of resistance from use of antimicrobial substances, and that the environmental effect and the effects of residues in edible tissues are also assessed, it is highly unlikely
that adding antibiotics to feed poses a serious risk to humans, especially compared with the extensive use of antibiotics directly in humans.”
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
The very last sentence of the Independent news report tells all.
Recall that Defra, Britain's infamous agricultural ministry, only slipped out the news that MRSA st398 was in the milk supply on Christmas Day - see report here
You can tell what embarrasses them by when they admit it.
Yes, I know it is unscientific, but science is not all.
Mary Creagh has it weighed up. Where are the prosecutions?
They can't prosecute: half Defra and their closest cronies would finish up behind bars.
Now, they are in even worse trouble. They have been caught exporting dubious beef ( from bTB reactors ) and for many years - see here
Be sure to read the full Independent report here
Some of regulator's staff had 'limited experience' of food-safety crises, official report concludes
TUESDAY 09 JULY 2013
The government food safety watchdog's handling of the horse-meat crisis was slow, badly executed and indecisive, the first investigation into the scandal has found...
...The FSA, which quietly slipped out the report at the end of the working day on Friday, declined to comment on its findings, although it is expected to address the issues in the coming days. Shoppers have dramatically changed the types of food they buy since horse DNA was first found in burgers on sale in supermarkets such as Tesco on 16 January.
Monday, 8 July 2013
Defra, Britain's infamous agricultural ministry, does it again!
Access to full Sunday Times report here
Farmers in France, which is officially free of the disease, are appalled by infected meat imports
Jonathan Leake Published: 7 July 2013
France, Belgium and Holland have been officially declared free of deadly bovine TB
THE carcasses of British cattle infected with bovine TB (bTB) are being exported to France, Holland and Belgium after being sold by the government’s veterinary agency to a Somerset abattoir...
...The export of the carcasses, which do not require special labelling, is legal because the government’s scientific advisers insist the risk of humans being infected by the meat is “very low”.
Despite that, Lord Rooker, chairman of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said this weekend that he believed such meat should be labelled to ensure purchasers knew what they were getting...
The press release is over a year old, but agreement by the Bundestag came on 5th July 2013
It is interesting to see that surveillance and control is tilted towards the conspicuous users, which obviously implies the larger holdings, and that veterinarians will have to supply information on their prescribing, as a matter of law.
It comes down to transparency and common sense: things that have been sadly lacking in Britain, where secrecy and cover-ups still reign.
German Government Media Release in English here
Press release no. 37 from 08.02.12
Federal Government plans to continue to strengthen the powers of Länder authorities
To reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock farming, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture plans to further extend the powers of the competent Länder surveillance authorities.
The use of antibiotics in livestock farming is to be restricted to what is absolutely necessary, Source: BLE
According to the information disclosed by the Federal Ministry in Berlin on Wednesday, holdings which use disproportionately high levels of antibiotics will not only face stronger surveillance in the future; the competent authorities will also be empowered to oblige holdings that use a conspicuously high number of drugs to submit a farm-specific minimisation plan. The root causes for the excessive use of antibiotics are frequently fundamental hygiene problems or management errors, which can thus be addressed and remedied in a
Federal Minister of Agriculture Ilse Aigner stated: "We need to improve the husbandry conditions of farm animals in order to reduce disease pressure and infection risks for the animals". "Holdings which use conspicuously large quantities of antibiotics need to face tighter surveillance. In addition, livestock keepers need to be required in these cases to take specific action to improve animal health." Aigner thus also supports an initiative taken by the Land of Lower Saxony, which provides for an "action plan aimed at continuously minimising the use of antibiotics in livestock farming and at reducing the risk
of the emergence of antibiotic resistance.” "We need to rally behind the common goal of restricting the use of antibiotics in livestock farming to what is absolutely necessary," Aigner emphasised. The Minister stated that it was necessary to monitor conspicuous holdings more closely to prevent drug abuse. Aigner confirmed that the use of antibiotics as growth promoters and the preventive use of antibiotics were both banned.
To lay the foundation for the initiation and implementation of farm-specific minimisation schemes, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture intends to consult with the Länder shortly. To recognise irregularities in the use of antibiotics more quickly and to establish legally secure benchmarks, authorities need to have quick access to the holdings’ documentation of the medication given. The talks with the Länder will focus on how this access to data can be established in an unbureaucratic, effective and legally secure manner.
As has already been reported, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is preparing a comprehensive amendment of the German Drug Act (AMG), in order to continue to tighten the legal provisions this year. Thus the Länder surveillance authorities will, for monitoring purposes, be given broader access to the data on the quantities of antibiotics that have been dispensed; this will also facilitate better planning of the
surveillance. Moreover, upon request by the surveillance authorities, veterinarians will be required to transmit a summary of all data regarding the sale and administration of antibiotics. This will make the surveillance work much easier and will simplify and speed up controls. It is planned to drastically restrict the possibility of the off-label use of antibiotics that are also of great importance in human medicine. This would mean that in future medicinal products for human use would only be able to be used as veterinary drugs, i.e. beyond the scope of their authorisation, under special conditions. In addition, the exchange of information between authorities will be significantly improved: It will be made compulsory for authorities that monitor establishments, for instance with regard to animal welfare and food hygiene, to pass on any data and findings that suggest there has been an infringement of the medicinal regulations to the bodies responsible for the monitoring of veterinary drugs.
Friday, 5 July 2013
The incomparable Maryn McKenna explains the significance of Pig MRSA and the latest research or, as she says, "to be polite", MRSA st398.(cc398)
Now Britain does not have MRSA st398 in its pigs or pig people according to Britain's corrupt agricultural ministry Defra and its dodgy veterinarians.
That's the people that brought us Mad Cow under their previous name of MAFF and spread it about the world and have recently been caught selling meat from bTB reactors, calling complainants "scaremongers" whilst failing to catch those selling horse meat as beef.
Our civil service veterinarians claim to have protected Britain, almost alone in the world, by the sheer brilliance of their work. Or, just maybe, their criminal world of deception and denial is about to crash about their ears.
The Americans are going to want to know how Britain, almost alone amongst nations, does not have MRSA st398 in its pigs.
We all want to know.
Be sure to read the whole. Insurers of farms will be asking just what employment liability risks they are unknowingly underwriting, through civil service deception.
Article in full here
I saved this post until today to allow everyone to get their holiday hot dogs guilt-free. Now that’s over: An important study has just been published which makes a close connection between the emergence of
antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the use of antibiotics on large-scale conventional hog farms. Bonus: It involves the resistant bacterium MRSA ST398 (known in shorthand as “pig MRSA”), which is widespread in Europe but up to this point has been found in only one state in the US, Iowa. With this paper, the count rises to two: The study subjects in this paper are hog-farm workers in eastern North Carolina.
A quick explanation of why this is important: “Pig MRSA” is a particular strain of drug-resistant staph that is slightly different from the hospital and community (sports, gym) varieties. It was first spotted in the Netherlands in 2004, in the toddler daughter of pig farmers and in the family’s pigs. Since then, it has spread widely across Europe, not just in agriculture, but in healthcare and in everyday life, and has also been found widely in retail meat...
... (If you want more, here’s an archive of my posts on ST398; the
story of its emergence in 2004 and what happened afterward is told in
my 2010 book SUPERBUG.)
Now, the study...
... Workers from the conventional, antibiotic-using farms were many times more likely to carry staph with the specific signature of farm-drug use.
That illuminates a potential occupational risk to the workers — and it also suggests that the workers could be a channel for that farm-influenced bacterium to move off the farm...
...Imagine how much more we would know about this difficult problem if the barriers they hint at did not exist.
Wednesday, 3 July 2013
At long last! The inclusion of farm animals is very necessary..
Let us hope there is proper supervision and no test fiddling.
BBC report here
3 July 2013 Last updated at 01:35
A UK-wide investigation into the spread of antibiotic-resistant E. coli has been launched by Public Health England.
The resistant strains of the bacterium, which can cause urinary tract infections and blood poisoning, are harder to treat and more deadly than non-resistant E. coli.
The spread of resistance in healthy people, patients, farm animals, sewage and slurry will be assessed...
The scandal of MRSA in pigs and pig people rumbles on.
It is an expected consequence of industrial scale pig farming, but something often denied.
Full Medical Daily report here
Strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria could cause a wave of infections throughout the U.S. population. Before that happens, scientists are trying to find the path in which they travel, and they've zeroed in on industrial livestock farms.
BY ANTHONY RIVAS | JUL 02, 2013 11:00 PM EDT
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, particularly MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), have emerged in increasing numbers over the past few years. First seen in European farm settings, they then moved to communities and hospitals.
Scientists are now trying to find ways to prevent the same thing from happening in the U.S., where they are already found among farmers in livestock operations. According to a new study, the problem may lie in
...Overall, both groups had similar amounts of normal Staph - the kind that can be eliminated with antibiotics - but they found that multidrug-resistant Staph (MDRSA) was present in 37 percent of industrial farm workers, compared to only 19 percent of the workers at the antibiotics-free farms. Additionally, they found that 56 percent of the industrial farm workers had tetracycline-resistant Staph bacteria, compared to only three percent of those at antibiotics-free farms. Tetracycline is an antibiotic frequently prescribed for
With strains of these bacteria already showing up in livestock workers in Iowa and North Carolina, scientists are concerned that the bacteria might spread in the same way it did in Europe...
It looks as if our long-held hunch that porcine circovirus was dangerous to humans may be right. At least, we are not the only ones suspicious anymore and research is under way.
That circovirus is now a disaster for pig farming worldwide is undeniable and the risks arising to humans from excessive antibiotic use to handle co-infections is certain too. That there may be another more direct risk to humans is worrying.
More that a decade ago the past-President of the OIE complained that Britain failed to ask for their 1999 outbreak, a precursor to the CSF and FMD outbreaks in 2000-2001, to be made notifiable.
Promed report here