Livestock-associated MRSA has been identified in two piglets in eastern England by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), according to the National Pig Association (NPA).
“The disease is often found in pigs on the continent but it doesn’t usually cause illness, either in pigs or humans, although people who have close contact with livestock, such as vets and farmers, are at greater risk of being carriers,” said the report on the NPA website.
“For many years the United Kingdom has been unusual in having no known cases of LA-MRSA. But more recently it has been found on a turkey farm in East Anglia and in a single piglet in Northern Ireland.
“In this latest case the disease was found in two euthanased 10-days-old piglets with skin lesions, which had been submitted to APHA for investigation.
“The breed-to-finish farm concerned observes good biosecurity procedures, according to APHA. Eleven litters were affected and of 60 piglets with the condition, six died.
“Strain 398 LA-MRSA can be transmitted through direct contact between non-colonised and colonised animals and humans, or indirectly through contact with contaminated dust or other materials.
“There are many ways LA-MRSA could have entered the country and NPA has today reiterated its advice that all live pigs imported to Britain should be screened for MRSA.
“Meanwhile livestock keepers should observe good husbandry, hygiene and biosecurity practices and use antibiotics responsibly. As a matter of course, pig unit staff should always cover open cuts and wounds and wash their hands thoroughly after handling animals.”