Pigs caused MRSA in humans

UK - Dutch researchers said they've found community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) among pig farmers and their families that can be traced to the animals themselves.
calendar icon 30 September 2006
clock icon 3 minute read

National Pig Association

NPA is active on members' behalf in Brussels & Whitehall, and with processors, supermarkets & caterers - fighting for the growth and pros-perity of the UK pig industry.

CA-MRSA is a cause of skin and soft tissue infections such as abscesses, furuncles, and cellulitis. Although most infections are not serious, it can cause serious infections such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia, or bone and joint infections.

How the animals acquired the disease in the first place remains a mystery, Dr Christina Vandenbroucke-Grauls, of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam told a news briefing at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

She estimated about 100 cases have been seen in the past two years in the country's southern pig-farming region. In addition to farmers and their families, slaughterhouse workers and large-animal vets have tested positive for the pig-associated MRSA.

The pig farms in question are large industrial operations with many hundreds of pigs. "Now that we have this problem in the Netherlands, it would be wise to screen to see if it exists in the US,” she said.

Pig-associated MRSA hasn't been seen yet elsewhere, said Robert Spencer, chairman of the British Hospital Infection Society. While it has been known that animals could get MRSA, it was usually in pets, he said.

"Until recently, we perceived that the problem was that it went from man to animals" Dr. Spencer said. "But now, of course, we have this unique situation in Holland where we have this association with pig farmers."

Such infections can usually be treated with incision and drainage, but a few develop overwhelming sepsis and require more drastic measures.

To view the report from the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Click Here

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