MRSA and Europe’s livestock

Following the release of study findings in Germany on Monday that found that chicken in supermarkets is often contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, greater controls on the use of antibiotics in Germany have been proposed. Germany’s Friends of the Earth branch, BUND has criticised the proposals, saying they are too vague: lacking  an effective ban on human antibiotics in animal husbandry and a clear reduction target.  Read more on the proposals and reactions here.

The news stories below demonstrate the extent of the problem in Europe, in terms of both countries and animals affected…

New strain of MRSA superbug may have spread from cattle to humans
  The Guardian, Friday 3rd June 2011

‘Newly discovered MRSA strain found in cattle on 3% of dairy farms in the UK and caused 12 infections in people last year’


Routine antibiotic use linked to new MRSA strain found in UK dairy cows, The Ecologist, Friday 3rd June 2011

‘Fresh concerns over the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections from farm animals to humans have been raised after scientists find new strain of potentially deadly superbug in dairy cows’


Death wish: Routine use of vital antibiotics on farms threatens human health, The Independent,  Friday 17 June 2011

‘As Europe and the US face up to the menace of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, UK farmers have dramatically increased their use of the drugs most likely to cause these lethal strains’


MRSA: New strain of superbug found in cows, BBC News, 2nd June 2011

‘A new strain of the MRSA “superbug” has been found in British cows and is believed to be infecting humans’


Close Contact to Catch MRSA from Pigs, The Pig Site, 5th December 2011

“People who regularly work with pigs such as farmers or veterinarians are very likely to carry MRSA ST398 and can bring it into their homes where family members may pick it up. However, this happens more frequently in certain countries, indicating a role of hygienic precautions, and perhaps also of other factors such as farm size”


MRSA widespread in German pig breeding stocks, Pig Progress News, 27th November 2009

‘Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are widespread in pig breeding stocks in Germany. The results of a nationwide study by BfR confirm the findings of earlier studies in Germany and other EU Member States’


German Pigs Infected with MRSA, The Pig Site, 6th May 2008

‘German health officials have made an announcement that the country’s farm pigs are infested with “hospital bacteria”, otherwise known as Methicilin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) bacteria’


MRSA In Farm Animals – A New Monster Heading For UK, The Poultry Site, 26th June 2007

‘Research by the Soil Association reveals that a serious human-health threat, already present in the Netherlands and other European countries, could spread to the UK’