Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Antibiotic Resistance - Slaughter Sick Animals?

A number of important developments in animal and human health are now under way in Britain. They may or may not be connected. We will deal with them in separate posts, in chronological order

In  yesterday's Daily Mail, Dame Sally Davies, professor and Chief Medical Officer for England, was reported as launching another attack on antibiotic use in animals.

Britain's veterinarians do not like that and their massive public relations machine is reacting.

Well they wouldn't like it, would they?

But the fact remains that their activities have posed a serious and realised risk to human health, in Britain and abroad, for many years.

Veterinary reform is both necessary and inevitable.

The relevant passage is below, the full report is here.

She also called for a cut in the use of antibiotics in farm animals, one of the biggest causes of resistance to the drugs.
Controversially, she urged vets to slaughter sick animals rather than give them antibiotics to help them recover.
She said: 'I had a bit of a problem with some vets recently because I said, "Why don't you just slaughter animals when they're badly infected?" It seems to me much better because then they can't transmit them [antibiotics].
'At the moment, if you eat a farmed salmon in America it has probably eaten its own weight in antibiotics.'

Similar reports are now being carried in a number of news outlets and veterinary reaction is reaching the agricultural news.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Norway tackles MRSA in pigs and pig people

Big news on The Pig Site this morning here.

New Survey of MRSA in Norwegian Pigs to Begin

21 March 2014
NORWAY - The Food Safety Authority is to begin another survey of the prevalence of MRSA in pigs herds across the country...

The original Norwegian Government source is here.

You can see that they also think measures have to be taken to protect anyone handling pigs: something that does not happen in Britain, apparently because Britain's veterinary establishment still claim Britain's pigs are clear of MRSA.

Mapping of MRSA resumes
 Published 03/19/2014 | Last modified 20/03/2014

FSA restarts survey of animal associated MRSA, or LA-MRSA in Norwegian pig herds. Sampling starts next week.

Fact about MRSA
" MRSA is Staphylococcus aureus that has developed resistance to multiple antibiotics. They are small MRSA in Norway
" Meat from animals with MRSA is not dangerous to eat
" An animal associated variant of MRSA, called LA-MRSA has been found in several herds that have had contact through the sale of piglets. LA-MRSA is not particularly pathogenic in pigs, but it can infect from pig to man and from man to pig
" MRSA can be transmitted from pigs to humans, but rarely give serious infections in healthy people
" It is important to prevent MRSA spread to health care institutions, as MRSA can affect people who are already ill or have weakened health. These can then be exposed to bacteria which can not be combatted with antibiotics
" The use of antibiotics to livestock in Norway is very low compared to other countries, and there is reason to believe that antibiotic resistance among Norwegian domestic animals is less than in other countries
" Health authorities are concerned that LA-MRSA among pigs will spread. If it happens it will be necessary to dictate in advance of hospitalization for all who are in regular contact with animals
" These individuals must be screened for MRSA before they can be processed. If they are infected must be implemented to prevent the spread within the hospital

After a week stop to discuss basic issues related to the progress and economy, it is now clear that the NFSA planned survey of LA-MRSA in Norwegian pig herds will be conducted in the same scope as planned, with sampling of the 1150 swine herds.

FSA has made an overall assessment of the case and has decided to conduct the survey now, and to assess the economic impact parallel. What measures, if any, should be taken will be decided later.

Mapping first - then measures

FSA plans to resume the survey next week.

- It is important to get the facts about the situation in Norwegian pig herds on the table, says Ole Fjetland, assistant director of supervision at the FSA.

- We do this best by allowing us to quickly collect and analyze samples from all herds.As we know, we can determine the future strategy for how to combat or control the occurrence of LA MRSA, and what measures will be relevant.

Important public health
For reasons of public health, it is important to reduce the incidence of MRSA in the community. The economic impact of possible control measures now being studied in parallel with the mapping.
The Authority has the ambition to keep the Norwegian swine industry free of such bacteria, and Karleggingen will provide FSA one good basis for assessing whether this is a realistic goal.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Hepatitis E in British pigs and human health,

The British authorities, including public health, have released a flood of information on zoonotic disease, based on pig slaughter tests.

The writer and others are wading through it now, starting with HEV from pigs in Britain, as it has been part of my signature for so long and and human risks an important subject on this blog for years. You can get the whole report here:

And the HEV part in full here. The figures speak for themselves, we will just give a taste of the recommendation:


...To mitigate dietary hazard to humans…but how?

o Identify source of non-travel G3 group1 AND G3 group 2 viruses
o Alter pattern of infections in pigs to reduce viraemia at slaughter
o Cook pork as recommended by DH

o Identify high risk patients to avoid HEV exposure
o Mitigate transfusion risk for humans
o Bear in mind vaccine and anti-viral drugs in humans


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Living Near Pigs Increases Risk of Antibiotic-resistant Infection

Awareness of the deteriorating pig health situation in the USA, and associated risks to human health is slowly seeping into the news and public consciousness in Britain.

The Pig Site this morning reports on the Iowa research linking proximity to intensive pig farms to increased risks of MRSA in humans.

We actually reported Maryn McKenna on the work of the Iowa team, including Tara C Smith and E.N. Perencevich and this research, six weeks ago. See here

and, of course, we have been expressing concern on the issue for many years after catching Britain's most senior government veterinarians faking on-farm tests during the CSF epidemic in 2000.

Whilst public health is the key issue, we wonder how long before the impact on house prices in pig dense areas is felt in Britain? A fine country house near a pig farm, might prove a poor investment.

Of course, Britain's corrupt agricultural ministry, once Maff now Defra, has constantly claimed that Britain, almost alone in the world, does not have MRSA in its pigs.

So presumably they will be willing to compensate anyone, if and when MRSA is found in British pigs?

Anyway, here is Britain's The Pig Site, and their report today. As always, read in full.

Living Near Pigs Increases Risk of Antibiotic-resistant Infection

13 March 2014

US - New research from Iowa suggests that the risk of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is significantly higher in people who live near to pig farms.

Living near to large numbers of pig farms is associated with increased risk of MRSA colonisation at the time of hospital admission in rural Iowa veterans, report Margaret Carrel of the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa and co-authors...