"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Sunday, March 23, 2008

New reports of MRSA in butchered pork meat for retail sale - this time in Canada

We posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 Dutch Consumer research body finds 11% of pork is contaminated with MRSA bacteria about the findings of a study by The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority reported finding that in testing 1293 samples of unheated meat taken in the retail trade (supermarkets, butchers, poulterers, etc.),throughout Holland, 11% were contaminated with the hospital bacteria MRSA.

Canadian Researchers find MRSA in pork meat for retail sale

Canadian researchers found that just under 10 % of sampled pork chops and ground pork recently purchased in four provinces tested positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA

Dr. Scott Weese reported these findings last Wednesday March 20th in a presentation to the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases in Atlanta.

The bacteria would be destroyed by proper cooking, so Staph food poisoning is not a major concern, said Weese, the pathogens robably simply pass back and forth between people and animals.

People simply handling meat with MRSA on its surface could end up inadvertently "colonizing" themselves. People who carry the bacteria on their skin or in their nostrils are at greater risk of going on to develop a Staph infection, which can range from a hard-to-heal boil to pneumonia to a potentially deadly bloodstream infection.

"My main concern is: if there's MRSA on the surface of a pork chop and someone's handling it and then they touch their nose, could they transmit it from the pork chop to their nose?" noted Weese,from Department of Clinical Studies, at the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph.

Where MRSA infections were once mainly acquired in hospital, in recent years increasing rates of infections have been recorded in people who haven't been in hospitals and haven't been taking antibiotics.

The startling rise in so-called community acquired MRSA infections in the United States - a trend that is now being seen in parts of Canada - has led scientists to look for ways to explain the changing pattern of infections.

This is the first confirmed report of MRSA in retail meat in North America .

Scott Weese spoke at the 1st International Conference on MRSA in Animals attended by 65 delegates at the University of Liverpool last year about MRSA in horses. (Also see recent report here about MRSA in cats, dogs and other hoursehold pets)

MRSA in Ohio pigs

The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC)says legislation is necessary to phase out the use of human antibiotics as animal feed additives as concern has risen that hog farms are behind the recent and rapid spread of MRSA.

The OEC plans to "pressure both state and federal officials" for action this year, and calls widespread use of antibiotics on hog farms a rising threat to human health:"Researchers have linked transmission of a new strain of antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA) to farmers, their families, veterinarians and hospital staff treating farm-infected patients. The heavy use of antibiotics in industrialized livestock operations contributes to the proliferation of anti-biotic resistant bacteria, resulting in 100,000 MRSA infections in the U.S., including 19,000 deaths, according to a 2005 study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."Recognizing that identifying and controlling sources of MRSA is a public health urgency."

The OEC is urging the U.S. Congress and the Food and Drug Administration to study MRSA infections and deaths. As the state level, the OEC is establishing programs to educate policy makers and the public on the need for animal feed distributors to report on their use of antibiotic use in feed products

Action on farm animals as a source of MRSA in humans

It is evident that thespread of MRSA from infected animals by way of butchered meat is a potent pathway for resistant bacteria. It must be a matter of urgency to identify the nature and level of such infections and to detremine a public health policy to deal with it effectively...and fast.

Mike the Mad Biologist has an excellent post about MRSA in pigs in Holland and quotes a study
van Rijen MM, Van Keulen PH, Kluytmans JA. 2008. Increase in a Dutch hospital of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus related to animal farming. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Jan 15;46(2):261-3.

A Commentator to his blog Pat Gardiner, (blog "Self Sufficiency in Style") evidently well informed states ..."The current problem probably started in England in 1999. There was a mutation in a disease called PMWS and a very nasty epidemic which was hushed up. The pigs were fed massive quantities of antibiotic to get them to the slaughterhouse." she also adds ;

The current MRSA wave of epidemics started here in Norfolk England with a mutation back in 1999 and Britain tried to hush it up, feeding antibiotics to try to control the situation. They continued to export breeding stock and spread the disease.
This gives a reasonably reliable history of PMWS in England
http://www.thepigsite.com/articles/6/production-and-mgmt/1409/effects-of-disease-on-pig-performance-a-review ..."The subsequent emergence of PMWS and epidemic PDNS in 1999 has made the situation much worse and the U.K. pig industry has not yet recovered. In addition enteric disease incidence was aggravated by the ban on certain growth promoters in July 1999 and doubtless will be aggravated still further by a total ban on these products in 2006."

This gives the British government position on testing pigs
http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/diseases/zoonoses/mrsa.htm who say (amongst a lot else,) "There is no current evidence that food-producing animals form a reservoir of infection in the UK and the organism has not been detected in farmed livestock in the UK. Defra has initiated a study undertaken by the VLA to test Staphylococcus aureus isolates obtained from bovine clinical submissions for MRSA. This project commenced in Autumn 2006 and, to date, 425 samples have been tested, with no MRSA identified. "

... and the ears prick up when Pat Gardiner says ....You have stumbled onto a biggy. I have 7000 documents, gave evidence to the House of Commons and OLAF the serious fraud squad of the EU. I'm not very popular.

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