According to the Danish news source Politken Denmark, between 6,000 and 12,000 Danes who have never been near a pig farm could be infected with porcine MRSA without knowing it.
Two MRSA experts say the multidrug-resistant swine bacterium MRSA CC398 will be the result of more fatalities among the Danish population. “It is naive to imagine otherwise,” Henrik Westh, the head the Region Hovedstaden MRSA research centre,said in the report. “It is simple mathematics.”
The message on thousands of cases of infection comes after the State Serum Institute last week published figures showing that 105 Danes in July alone was found to be infected with swine MRSA. This is the highest number ever in a month. Pig MRSA has so far cost four lives at home.
Many people carry the infection without knowing it, and the bacteria is able to live for weeks on infected surfaces like table tops and door handles.
According to the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), in 2007, pig MRSA of the CC398 type comprised only 2% of all notified MRSA cases in Denmark. This year, the type presently accounts for more than 35% of cases.
Part of the increase is owed to the fact that more of the infected persons are now being detected. Today, all patients who are admitted to hospital are asked if they work with pigs or live at a pig-producing farm. Those who do are tested for MRSA even if they show no signs of being infected with the bacterium.
SSI also notes that considerable regional differences are observed, and the incidence is particularly low on Zealand and Bornholm, whereas the MRSA CC398 type is predominant in areas with intensive farming, particularly in West Jutland, North Jutland and South Jutland.