Farm-animal MRSA strain arrives in the UK
Following the news of the first three identified cases of farm-animal MRSA in humans in the UK, the Soil Association has called on the Government to publish interim results of its testing for MRSA in pigs, which has been ongoing since the beginning of the year . It is also calling for the introduction of a comprehensive testing programme for MRSA in other farm-animal species.
The development follows the Scottish MRSA Reference Laboratory’s identification of three patients in Scotland suffering from a new type of MRSA infection, not previously identified in the UK. The MRSA is a strain known as ST398 or NT-MRSA, which has been spreading rapidly across continental Europe and some other countries, affecting both farm animals and humans.
The problem came to light after the Soil Association asked the Scottish reference laboratory to recheck one suspicious sample, which was mentioned in a scientific paper, but which had not been fully tested.
Professor Giles Edwards, head of the laboratory, agreed to this request. He subsequently told the Soil Association about two further patients who had also been found to be infected by the same strain of MRSA.