A new strain of MRSA has been discovered in British milk, scientists report today.
The superbug, resistant to antibiotics, has been isolated from samples of milk taken from farms around the country and has also infected humans. It is the first time MRSA has been found in farm animals in the UK.
…… The discovery is the result of a chance finding by researchers at the University of Cambridge, who were investigating mastitis in cows, an infection of the udder. Their results, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, show cases of the new strain are increasing but account for less than 1 per cent of all human MRSA detections. Less than 3 per cent of dairy herds are thought to be affected.
Mark Holmes of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, who led the study, said: "It is still not known for certain if cows are infecting people, or people are infecting cows. This is one of the things we will be looking into next."
Asked if the routine use of antibiotics in livestock farming was a factor in the emergence of the new MRSA strain, he said it was a "credible hypothesis".
"Farmers are under tremendous financial pressure from the super- markets. It does mean they are the most efficient milk producers but that means they have more mastitis and use more.”
E. Coli continue to dominate health news across the globe:
Chicken and other animals can grow up to twice as fast as 30 years ago when antibiotics were not in the feeds. Scary!
The use of antibiotics in farm animals is widespread and is not restricted to the treatment of infections but for the enhancement of weight gain. In business terms it is the conversion ratio of feed to weight that matters. The Obama government may well be taking steps to control it due to the rising incidents of Hospital Infections. (SeeMRSA & Antibiotics: Obama & Farmers.)