NORWAY - Norway is currently the only country to date to have implemented a "search and destroy" strategy against LA-MRSA among pig herds. Now, a study of the successful strategy has shown that pig farm workers are the principal source of infection among Norwegian herds, a transmission route that was previously unidentified.
The study analysed epidemiological data collected while handling LA-MRSA in Norwegian herds of pigs, from the first discovery in 2013 until 2015.
In addition, the researchers performed genetic testing of bacterial isolates from all individuals identified with LA-MRSA since 2008, and they collected samples from all animals, people and pig farm environments that were affected by outbreaks in 2013 and 2014.
These findings show that pig farm workers are the principal source for the introduction of LA-MRSA in Norwegian herds of swine. This transmission route was previously unknown.
“This is an important discovery and herds must be monitored if they are to remain free of MRSA, particularly in countries where there is little or no import of live pigs,” says Petter Elstrøm, researcher at the Department of Antibiotic Resistance and Infection Prevention.
The strategy's goal has been to prevent LA-MRSA from being introduced and spread among Norwegian herds, thereby preventing pig herds from becoming a major source of MRSA dissemination to the general population.
The strategy has been effective and any further transmission from animals or humans in the affected farms to the general population has not been detected.
Recommendations about who should be tested for LA-MRSA before contact with livestock have been issued to prevent transmission from farm workers to pigs.
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