Monday, 12 May 2014

Denmark: Three Deaths from Drug-Resistant “Pig MRSA”

The title is serious enough, but the fact that Danish journalists appear to have been prosecuted for making it public should make British blood run cold.

Even more frightening is that we all knew about both MRSA st398 in pigs and journalists being prosecuted on the British newsgroup "Journalists charged in Denmark for
disclosing MRSA st398 information" 25th Jan 2013.

The writer, heavily targeted, harassed and abused for giving evidence to Britain's Parliament on state veterinary crime, published.

You can find all the articles on MRSA st398 (cc398) in pigs by searching on Google Groups or on my blog, details below.

Maybe Britain needs a First amendment to protect free speech from state sponsored criminals too?

Anyway, here is the inimitable Maryn McKenna author of "Superbug" on the trail. Be sure to read in full.

Denmark: Three Deaths from Drug-Resistant “Pig MRSA”


A troubling and also kind of odd story came out of Denmark this weekend. In a court proceeding, a microbiologist has disclosed that three residents of the country who had no known connection to farming died of MRSA infections caused by ST398, the livestock-associated strain of drug-resistant staph that first appeared among pig farmers in the Netherlands in 2004 and has since moved through Europe, Canada and the United States.

If the report is correct — and sources have told me it is, but I’ve seen no data to confirm it — it reinforces the concern that bacteria which become resistant because of antibiotic use on farms can move off farms and affect the health of people who have no connection to farming...

...The first way in which this is odd is that this story emerged not from government public health data but during the trial of two journalists, who in 2010 disclosed the names of farms that had been found to be harboring ST398 (alternatively called CC398). The names were published in a long, tough investigative article that accused the government of capitulating to the agricultural industry by gathering
data on the presence of MRSA — which was very rare in Denmark — but not publishing it. The journalists, Kjeld Hansen and Nils Mulvad, are being prosecuted for violating the farmers’ privacy. (As a US journalist grateful every day for the First Amendment, the prosecution disturbs me greatly. William Heisel at Reporting on Health has also written about this.)