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News and analysis on the global poultry
and animal feed industries.
Pig Welfare
on February 10, 2015

MRSA isolated in piglets in eastern England

While not required, testing for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is encouraged by the British Veterinary Association and Pig Veterinary Society

The isolation of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) from piglets in eastern England has been reported.

According to Veterinary Record, two 10-day old piglets with skin lesions were submitted to an AOHA veterinary investigation center on December 30, 2014. Eleven litters were affected, and six of 60 piglets with the condition died.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) in a joint statement said while there is no official requirement to test for MRSA, the British pig industry is actively promoting testing of live pig imports or the herds from which they derive.

“With the movement of different livestock species and humans between the U.K. and countries with high prevalence of LA-MRSA, it is disappointing but perhaps not surprising to have detected LA-MRSA in pigs in England,” the organizations stated.

“Some media reports have speculated about the infectivity of the organism. An opportunist infection of the skin or other sites in MSRA-colonized animals is a recognized occurrence and does not, in itself, imply that LA-MRSA has greater infectivity. It is also worth noting that while antimicrobial use has played a role in the emergence of MRSA, its subsequent spread relates mainly to it being a successful bacterial species, not to antimicrobial use. LA-MRSA has been found in animals in which no antimicrobials have been used.”

Public Health England has advised that LA-MRSA represents a very low risk to public health because this type of MRSA rarely causes disease in humans.

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