MRSA found in 8% of Dutch broiler farms
The methicyllin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria is found in 8% of Dutch broiler farms, on both the broilers and in dust, Dutch agricultural newspaper Boerderij Vandaag reports.
The newspaper quotes a conclusion from a risk assessment agency within the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
The most important finds are related to the ‘livestock related’ variety of MRSA, also known as LA-MRSA, which can also be found in pigs and beef calves. On 9% of the broiler producers, the bacteria was found as well. For slaughterhouse staff, this can even be as high as 14%.
The agency states that additional measures are needed to better protect employees who get in touch with live broilers.
In slaughterhouses with gas stunning, chances for MRSA infection are almost four times smaller than in slaughterhouses using electric stunning through a water bath. When using gas stunning, the animals move less, causing less dust to be released in the air, reducing the risk for infection. In addition, there appears to be less suffering for the animals themselves, hence the agency advises to move to a slaughter method in which the animals move as few as possible. It has also been advised to employees exposed to MRSA to wear masks for protection against dust particles.
In healthy people, MRSA is not a threat. For people in hospitals, however, MRSA is more dangerous as they are more susceptible to disease. In addition, MRSA cannot be treated using regular antibiotics. The usage of antibiotics is being named as one of the reasons for antibiotic resistant bacteria like MRSA.
In recent reports, the Dutch broiler sector has reached a reduction of 60% of antibiotics usage in comparison to 2009.
Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA)
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