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New Study Reveals MRSA Bacteria Common Among Pigs and Farm Workers
Date:11/6/2007

Earlier European Studies Suggested Pigs as Source of Human Infection;

Congress Needs to Compel Government Action

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study published in Veterinary Microbiology found methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalent in Canadian pig farms and pig farmers, pointing to animal agriculture as a source of the deadly bacteria.

The Veterinary Microbiology study (Khanna et al. 2007) is the first to show that North American pig farms and farmers commonly carry MRSA. The study looked for MRSA in 285 pigs in 20 Ontario farms. It found MRSA at 45% of farms (9/20) and in nearly one in four pigs (71/285). One in five pig farmers studied (5/25) also were found to carry MRSA, a much higher rate than in the general North American population. The strains of MRSA bacteria found in Ontario pigs and pig farmers included a strain common to human MRSA infections in Canada.

An estimated nine million Canadian hogs will be imported into the United States this year.

A study published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (Klevens et al. 2007) estimated almost 100,000 MRSA infections in 2005, and nearly 19,000 deaths in the United States. In comparison, HIV/AIDS killed 17,000 people that year.

Until recently, conventional wisdom had MRSA pegged as an opportunistic infection occurring mainly in hospitals. The JAMA study found that even healthy people are developing MRSA infections. The Veterinary Microbiology study points to pig farms as a possible source of these resistant infections, as have earlier European studies.

Members of the Keep Antibiotics Working coalition (KAW), including medical, agriculture, and environmental experts, are calling for Congress to compel the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to study whether the use of human antibiotics in animal agriculture is contributing to the reported surge in MRSA infections and deaths in th
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SOURCE Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition
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