Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Sweden does have MRSA in its pigs.


The Swedish media are carrying articles with the following headlines:

Here -

Swedish pigs free of the dreaded bacterial

Published January 19, 2015 

and Here -

Swedish pigs free of MRSA bacteria

Published today 7:24

Other publications make the same claim.

That would be great, but, alas, it is not really true.

MRSA st398 was found in Sweden back in August 2014.

see here.

You can check back to the original source. MRSA st398 was found in pork at slaughter and was admitted.

If you read the article "Swedish pigs free of MRSA bacteria" you quickly see that the headline claim is actually contradicted in the body of the article. Breeding pigs are thought to be clear of MRSA,
not those the Swedes are actually fattening, handling and eating.

The first article on this page provides no such explanation in the text. It would seem that either the Swedish farmers' organisation or the publication are misleading the consumers.

We see a lot of this from many countries. They play the children's game of standing in a circle and passing a whisper from one to the next. What started as "I want a new Teddy bear" becomes "It is cold in the winter" after a dozen whispered transfers.

But this is no children's game.

If anyone  can get an accurate report from the government veterinarians, it is reproduced from farming and veterinary publication, one to another, until finally, the report reaching the tabloids or the Sunday papers is very positive to the veterinary establishment, and very different from the original, hopefully truthful, admission of some degree of problem.

Oddly the veterinarians never find it necessary to correct the media!

But we should not be too dismissive of the Swedes joining in the international veterinary game of covering their backs.

Five years ago Sweden did admit to norovirus in the public water supply giving the clue to the source of epidemics on cruise liners. As regulars on the newsgroup uk.business.agriculture will know, one of my critics found the resulting article, which  won a "Best in Law" award in the USA.

The Swedes do think their breeding stock may be clear of pig MRSA, the kind of favourable situation we need to start the proposed Islay High Health Pig Farm, the parallel operations on Bornholm and elsewhere.

Multiple locations producing clean breeding stock and less international live pig movements are part of the solution to pig disease finding its way into human populations and hospitals.

So media getting it partly right, plays a part in promoting solutions too!