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International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Tue 24 Nov 2009
Source: EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) press release [edited]
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the 1st
EU-wide survey on MRSA (Methicillin-resistant _Staphylococcus
aureus_) in breeding pigs. The results indicate that MRSA, a
bacterium resistant to many antibiotics, is commonly detected in
holdings with breeding pigs in some EU Member States. The survey
provides estimates of its occurrence and makes recommendations for
further monitoring and investigation of the causes and implications
of MRSA findings in pig holdings in the EU.
The survey was carried out in 24 Member States, 17 of which found
some type of MRSA in their holdings with breeding pigs and 7 none at
all. On average, different types of MRSA were found in one out of 4
holdings with breeding pigs across the EU, but the survey also says
that figures vary greatly between Member States. MRSA ST398 was the
most reported type of MRSA among the holdings with breeding pigs in
the EU; some Member States also reported other types, but their
prevalence was much lower.
MRSA is a major concern for public health and its various types are
recognised as an important cause of hospital-acquired (or nosocomial)
infections in humans. The specific type MRSA ST398 has been
identified in some domestic animals and is considered an occupational
health risk for farmers, veterinarians and their families, who may
become exposed to it through direct or indirect contact with these
animals. In an opinion published earlier this year , EFSA's
Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) Panel assessed the public health
significance of MRSA in animals and food and concluded that the MRSA
ST398 strain is less likely to contribute to the spread of MRSA in
hospitals than other types carried by humans. The Panel also said
that there is currently no evidence that MRSA ST398 can be
transmitted to humans by eating or handling contaminated food.
In the survey published today [24 Nov 2009], EFSA recommends
monitoring of pigs and other food producing animals for MRSA. It also
says further research should be carried out so that the reasons for
differences in the prevalence of MRSA in the various Member States
can be identified and used to propose options on possible control
Note to editors:
The _Staphylococcus aureus_ is a bacterium that can be persistently
or intermittently carried by healthy humans and is a very common
cause of minor skin infections that usually do not require treatment.
In patients in hospitals, _Staphylococcus aureus_ is a common cause
of hospital-acquired infections. Its variant Methicillin-Resistant
_Staphylococcus aureus_ (MRSA) emerged in the 1970s and is now often
found in hospitals in many European Member States. MRSA is resistant
to many commonly used antibiotics. In recent years, clones of MRSA
have evolved outside the hospitals, causing infections among people
who have no connection with hospitals. Most recently MRSA has also
been detected in several farm animal species.
EFSA's Zoonoses Unit monitors and analyses the situation on zoonoses,
zoonotic agents, antimicrobial resistance, microbiological
contaminants and food-borne outbreaks across Europe. The Unit is
supported by a Task Force on Zoonoses Data Collection consisting of a
pan-European network of national representatives of Member States,
other reporting countries, as well as World Health Organisation (WHO)
and World organisation for animal health (OIE). They gather each year
data in their respective countries.
EFSA's BIOHAZ Panel provides scientific advice on biological hazards
in relation to food safety and food-borne diseases. This covers
food-borne zoonoses (animal diseases transmissible to humans),
Transmissible spongiform Encephalopathies (BSE/TSEs), food
microbiology, food hygiene and associated waste management issues.
The Panel's risk assessment work helps to provide a sound foundation
for European policies and legislation and supports risk managers in
taking effective and timely decisions.
Castleview Pedigree English Longhorns
Gut Laach 52385 Nideggen, Germany
Date: Tue 24 Nov 2009
Source: Federal (German) Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR): Press
release 31/2009 [edited]
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. They are part of a study conducted last year 
in pig breeding stocks in the European Union. The results of the EU
study were published today [24 Nov 2009] by the European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA) [see item 1 above]. The BfR findings for Germany
show: MRSA was detected in the shed dust of 84 out of the 201 pig
breeding stocks examined (41.8 percent). People who come into contact
with pigs through their work are frequently carriers of this germ.
"Based on all the information available to us, the risk of infection
from pork-containing food is very low," says BfR President Professor
Dr. Andreas Hensel. In any case, meat should always be prepared with
careful attention to kitchen hygiene and only eaten after having been
thoroughly cooked through. This i!
nactivates any potential pathogens.
Methicillin-resistant _Staphylococcus aureus_ are widespread
pathogens. People mainly become infected with this germ in hospital.
As these pathogens are resistant to numerous antibiotics, infections
are very difficult to treat. Certain types of this bug may also lead
to infections outside hospitals.
Almost all the germs detected in 2008 in pig breeding stocks belong
to the ST398 type, which is common in livestock. Up to now, it has
only been detected very rarely in infected individuals in hospitals.
However, it is also found in individuals who have professional
dealings with livestock. This group includes farmers, vets and
slaughterhouse staff. Although this type of MRSA has only rarely led
to cases of disease in humans and animals up to now, the Hospital
Hygiene Committee of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recommends
testing individuals from these groups for the pathogen when they are
admitted to hospital. This would avoid the spread of the pathogen to
wounds in the case of surgery and throughout the hospital and via
this path to other patients.
Although this bug can also be detected in the meat from livestock,
the risk of contracting it from food is currently deemed to be low.
BfR and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) came to the same
conclusion in their risk assessments.
When compared with other European countries, the proportion of
MRSA-positive pig breeding stocks is relatively high in Germany.
Nonetheless, MRSA was detected in pig breeding stocks in most western
European countries that engage in intensive pig production. Future
studies must clarify the contributory factors to this situation. On
average across the 26 Member States which participated in the study,
22.4 percent of the herds stocks tested positive for MRSA. This is
revealed by the report on the EU-wide study published by EFSA today
[24 Nov 2009].
Castleview Pedigree English Longhorns
Gut Laach 52385 Nideggen, Germany
[BfR was established in Germany on 1 Nov 2002 to strengthen consumer
health protection, whose credibility had suffered as a consequence of
the BSE crisis. This explains why the legislator wrote into the Act
establishing BfR that it enjoys independence in its scientific
assessments. The main task of BfR is to voice an opinion on the
potential risks from food, consumer products and chemicals, and to
offer scientific advice to the federal ministries for their policy
decisions. Given the Institute's remit, the main ministries involved
1. The Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
(BMELV) (food and product safety)
2. The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and
Nuclear Safety (BMU) (chemicals safety and contaminants in food)
3. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs
(BMVBS) (transport of dangerous goods, ballast water agreement)
BfR cooperates with a number of national and international,
governmental and non-governmental agencies (FAO, WHO, OECD, etc.). It
is the national Focal Point of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA)
and a partner of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
BfR sees itself as the advocate of consumer health protection in a
context in which many stakeholders make their voices heard. Based on
its risk assessments, it seeks to strengthen consumer health
protection. To this end, the Institute offers policy advice,
participates in national and international agencies and disseminates
consumer information. One important component in its risk assessment
activities is risk communication and the various forms it can take.
BfR wishes to build on these by means of various projects and events.
The focus of its health assessments is on people as consumers.
Whenever control authorities detect microbial contamination or high
levels of harmful toxicological ingredients, heavy metals or
pesticides in foods, consumer products or cosmetics, BfR's scientific
assessment expertise is in demand. In their health assessments, the
Institute's scientists assume the important task of establishing how
germs or substances reach a food or product, whether they constitute
a risk to humans and what action should then be taken. They adopt a
science-based research approach and draw on exposure assessment and
toxicological methods. - Mod.AS]
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, animals - Europe: evaluation 20090618.2255
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, zoo elephant - USA (02): (CA) 2008 add
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, zoo elephant - USA: (CA) 2008 20090307.0951
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, swine - USA: (IA, IL) 20090126.0348
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, livestock - UK: (Scotland) 20080605.1799
Staph. aureus (MRSA), nosocomial - UK (England) 20080427.1455
Staph. aureus (MRSA), comm. acq., MSM - USA: (MA, CA) 20080119.0232
Staph. aureus (MRSA), human, porcine - Canada, USA 20071109.3640
Staph. aureus (MRSA), comm. acq., human, equine - Canada 20070108.0076]
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Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:19 am
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EU Study Shows MRSA Wide-Spread at Pig Farms
STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS (MRSA), PORCINE - EUROPE: SURVEY *********************************************** A ProMED-mail