The European Food Safety Authority has published the first EU-wide survey on MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus) in breeding pigs. The results indicate that MRSA, a bacterium resistant to many antibiotics, is commonly detected in holdings with breeding pigs in some EU member states.

The survey provides estimates of its occurrence and makes recommendations for further monitoring of pig holdings in the EU.

The survey was carried out in 24 member states, 17 of which found some type of MRSA in their holdings with breeding pigs, and seven found none at all. On average, different types of MRSA were found in one out of four holdings with breeding pigs across the EU, but the survey also says that figures vary greatly between member states. MRSA ST398 was the most reported type of MRSA among the holdings with breeding pigs in the EU; some member states also reported other types, but their prevalence was much lower.

MRSA is a major concern for public health, and its various types are recognized as an important cause of hospital-acquired infections in humans. The specific type MRSA ST398 has been identified in some domestic animals and is considered an occupational health risk for farmers, veterinarians and their families, who may become exposed to it through direct or indirect contact with these animals.