News 1 commentupdate:Mar 9, 2016

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."

World Poultry

One comment

  • Mr Kirschner

    Cleansing and disinfection is a very short term solution. In fact it creates stronger resisting MRSA. The long term solution should be found without the usage of strong chemicals. An interesting case study was presented by Eric Van Den Heuvel, a Dutch pig farmer, at the UK Pig Veterinary Society Autumn Meeting two weeks ago.
    In 2003, Eric became acutely aware of LA-MRSA. Mr Van Den Heuvel found that not only were most of his family MRSA positive, so were his colleague farmers in his area. Mr Van Den Heuvel concluded at the time that there must be a link between him and his colleagues being pig farmers and the fact that they were infected with MRSA.

    In his search for a solution, Eric came across probiotic cleaning products. He started to use the products, washing the farm and the sows periodically with them. Every three days the farm was sprayed with probiotic mist.In addition probiotic bacteria was used to clean the water lines. The effect of the combined effort was remarkable, due to a healthy microflora being maintained in the farm. When Eric then tested the farm, after using the the probiotic cleaning products for 6 months, the test results demonstrated a reduction in the risk of MRSA. As a result, the Van Den Heuvel family are now all MRSA negative. Furthermore, during the process Eric came to the conclusion that the need for giving antibiotics to the growing piglets was significantly reduced, cutting his costs and creating a healthier and safer environment.

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