News 1 commentupdate:Mar 9, 2016

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.

Related websites:
Boerderij Vandaag
Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA)

World Poultry

One comment

  • Mr Kirschner

    While I agree with the problem presented in the article, I do not agree with the proposed solution.
    Wearing masks may increase the risk of getting more MRSA (infections or become MRSA positive). Dust particles that carry MRSA may get on the inside of the mask, when touching it when putting it on, or when dust gets on the mask and on the face, etc. As the MRSA is a skin bacterium, it will like the heat and rubbing of the skin by the mask... Also the air breathed-in will be more moist and warm.

    The only way to reduce the risk of MRSA is to control the microbial environment rather than to kill all bacteria randomly.

    One of the ways is to clean with cleaning materials that contain probiotic bacteria. It has proven effective in a pig farm in The Netherlands where a farming family that was MRSA positive, once operating a strict regime of controlling the environment with probiotic bacteria, became all MRSA negative.

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