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U.S.: MRSA Found in Pigs, Farmworkers

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  • U.S.: MRSA Found in Pigs, Farmworkers

    Long article, here are some snips:
    ---------------------------------
    Potentially fatal bacteria found in pigs, farmworkers
    Federal agencies urged to check for MRSA in meat
    By ANDREW SCHNEIDER
    P-I SENIOR CORRESPONDENT

    Last week, the Seattle P-I's "Secret Ingredients" blog disclosed that Tara Smith, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa Department of Epidemiology, and her graduate researchers found MRSA in more than 70 percent of the pigs they tested on farms in Iowa and Illinois.

    In what is apparently the first testing of swine for MRSA in the U.S., Smith and her team swabbed the noses of 209 pigs on 10 farms. They also found the bacteria among livestock workers employed by those hog operations.

    On Friday, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston, Abby Harper, one of Smith's graduate assistants, presented the results of the study on farmworkers. She said she and Michael Male tested 20 workers at the Iowa swine farms and found that 45 percent carried the same MRSA bacteria as the pigs.

    "We will be paying special attention to the antibiotics that are being used, because there are indications that the tetracycline used in swine farming may be the cause of the spread of MRSA," she explained.

    A link between increased use of antibiotics and an increased incidence of MRSA is being hotly debated.

    "There is no indication MRSA has been identified in swine going into the retail market. Not in this country. Not in swine or other livestock being sold for food in this country," the doctor added.

    But none of the USDA labs that he runs is checking for MRSA in imported meat. "We just don't have a test for it," Goldman said.

    "The main possible concern is that people could get MRSA on their hands from raw pork, then touch their nose. The nose is the prime site for MRSA to live," he said.

    Some public-heath experts worry that butchers and professional and home cooks may be infected if MRSA bacteria on their hands entered a cut or a wound.

    In a cautionary note, Weese warned that MRSA could also be in beef, chicken and lamb. But no one, he said, is checking.

    The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918

  • #2
    Re: U.S.: MRSA Found in Pigs, Farmworkers

    ""We will be paying special attention to the antibiotics that are being used, because there are indications that the tetracycline used in swine farming may be the cause of the spread of MRSA," she explained.

    A link between increased use of antibiotics and an increased incidence of MRSA is being hotly debated."

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