New guidelines designed to help people who work with livestock to help prevent LA-MRSA infections have been published by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD), backed by input from 12 other organisations, including the National Pig Association.
In addition to explaining what LA-MRSA is and how it can spread from animals to people, the new guidelines include the following six steps to reduce infection risks:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap, remove all visible dirt and then dry your hands with a paper towel. This is especially important before eating, smoking and leaving the farm. Alcohol hand gels may be used, but are less effective if applied when hands are wet or visibly dirty.
- Cover any cuts, grazes or areas of broken skin with a waterproof dressing to reduce the chance of bacteria entering the body.
- Wear protective outer clothing when working with animals. Remove the protective clothing on the farm and if possible have a shower before leaving. Ideally changing rooms will be on the edge of the farm so you do not have to walk through the farm in your clean clothes.
- Wash all work clothes on farm. If this is not possible, put the clothes in a sealed bag to take them home for washing. Avoid shaking out the clothes as you put them in the machine as this will spread dust in the environment. Wash work clothes separately from other laundry and wash your hands after handling them.
- Footwear should be dedicated to working with livestock and not used elsewhere.
- Regularly clean and disinfect your footwear and change into other footwear when leaving the premises.
- Inform your doctor or dentist that you work with livestock if you go to them for any treatment as they may wish to test for LA-MRSA before carrying out any surgery or dental extractions. It may also help them to accurately diagnose conditions such as skin infections. Members of your household should also let the doctor know that they have an indirect connection to livestock.
Headline image shows the 13 bodies behind the new guidelines document.