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LA-MRSA - sorting the fact from the fiction

4th Nov 2016 / By Alistair Driver

Following potentially damaging recent headlines about the recent discovery of LA-MRSA in supermarket pork, Pig World has taken an in-depth look at the issue. 

In an article in the November magazine, which can also be read here, PW sets out the background to the issue and explains why the recent headlines and some of the sensational claims around it are misleading.

The issue shot to prominence again in late-October when the Daily Mail published an article linking the discovery of LA-MRSA and a possible major human health risk to what it claimed was overuse of antibiotics on pig farms, prompting this response from NPA.

The PW article considers what LA-MRSA is and how it is spread, the scale of the problem in livestock, the implications for human health, including farm workers, the link with on-farm antibiotic use, the potential threat from imports and how the industry is responding to misleading publicity on the issue.

It also reiterates precautionary guidance to minimise the risk of infection for anyone working with livestock. This includes: 

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap, especially before eating, smoking and leaving the farm
  • Cover any cuts, grazes or areas of broken skin with a waterproof dressing
  • Wear protective outer clothing when working with animals. Remove the protective clothing on the farm and if possible have a shower before leaving
  • Wash all work clothes on farm or, if not possible, put them in a sealed bag to take them home for washing
  • Wash work clothes separately from other laundry and wash your hands after handling them.
  • Footwear should be dedicated to working with livestock
  • Inform your doctor or dentist that you work with livestock as they may wish to test for LA-MRSA before carrying out any surgery or dental extractions
  • Members of your household should also let the doctor know they have an indirect connection to livestock.

For more information, see the NPA's guidance on LA-MRSA and a Government-industry briefing for farm workers.