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News 1029 views last update:May 7, 2008

Tests find MRSA bacteria in German piggeries

The Methicilin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) bacteria, also known as 'hospital bacteria', is also prevalent on German farm pigs, German health officials announced this week.

MRSA was found in 28 out of 40 of the pig farms checked in North Rhine Westphalia state, the state farm services bureau in Bonn said.

The bacteria was found in about 70% of the animals; the infected pigs were healthy.

Revelations in the Netherlands
Tests were ordered after it was discovered that the germs are widespread in Dutch piggeries, as early as 2003. Ever since, similar tests to MRSA in piggeries have also been performed in Belgium, the UK and Canada.

German federal health officials advised that consumers should cook pork thoroughly to avoid possible infections.

Documentary
MRSA, a problem in hospitals around the globe, was first detected in animals in 1972. A PlusMinus documentary on MRSA, to be broadcasted this week in Germany, says 35,000 patients catch the bacteria every year in German hospitals. Approximately 1,500 die of it.

Ordinary staphylococcus bacteria are found on most people's skin. It usually only causes sores and other illnesses when immunity is low.

The documentary said 39 of 122 farm workers in one sample had caught the resistant form, possibly from the pigs. Methicillin resistance arises when some of the toughest bacteria survive courses of antibiotics administered to humans or animals.

Related website:
• PlusMinus (in German)

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