News 528 views last update:Jun 6, 2008

MRSA superbug widespread in Pigs

The antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is widespread among both pigs and pig farmers in Canada, Natural news has reported.

A study published in the journal "Veterinary Microbiology," suggests that the livestock industry is a possible source of the disease.

Researchers examined 258 pigs on 20 farms in Ontario, and also tested the workers on those farms. They found that 45 percent of farms, 25 percent of pigs and 20 percent of farmers were infected with MRSA, which is substantially higher than the rate of infection in the general North American population.

Among the MRSA strains found on the pig farms was one that has commonly infected humans in Canada and one that has been associated with serious skin, breast and heart infections in Europe.

Antibiotic resistance
The study has added weight to claims that antibiotic use in livestock farming may have led to the development of antibiotic resistance in human diseases. Consumer health advocate Mike Adams said that commercial raising of livestock for food is fraught with the potential for microbiological disaster.

"When we raise pigs, cows, chickens or other animals in artificial, enclosed, indoor environments, we are practically begging to be threatened by out-of-control superbugs that breed in such conditions," Adams said.

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