Livestock-associated MRSA found on UK poultry farm
Livestock-Associated Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) has been identified in poultry on a farm in East Anglia, UK, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has reported.
The presence of the bacteria was picked up during surveillance on the farm by AHVLA on behalf of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. While the infection is not considered to represent a significant risk to bird health and welfare, the farm in question will be subject to further inspections.
Once the poultry have been slaughtered and sold, the owner will carry out cleansing and disinfection of their accommodation to ensure the next birds do not become colonised when they arrive on site. The AHVLA will then revisit the farm after depopulation and thorough cleansing and disinfection to determine whether LA-MRSA is still present.
"Any risk of contracting MRSA through meat from animals with these bacteria is very low when usual good hygiene and thorough cooking practices are observed," said Steve Wearne, Director of Policy at the Food Standards Agency. "All poultry should be handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly to destroy any bacteria that may be present."
Professor Angela Kearns, Head of the Staphylococcus Reference service at Public Health England said: "This strain of bacteria is relatively widespread in livestock in Europe, including countries from which meat is regularly sourced by the UK. There are no known cases of people contracting MRSA from eating meat."
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