MRSA In The News – Now Being Found In Milk

Another instance of MRSA is happening again, but this time scientists in the UK have found a strain of MRSA in cow’s milk. It was found during a study on udder infection mastitis in dairy herds. It has since caused a small number of serious blood infections and other minor infections in people. There is no clear link to how people are becoming infected with this strain of MRSA, but the study suggests that this is likely a result of being in contact with infected cattle or people that work with animals.

Dr. Mark Holmes, who led the study, stated that milk from infected cows was safe to drink because the bug, along with other bacteria, was killed by pasteurisation. This is good news since more than 99% of milk consumed in the UK is pasteurised.

In the rare cases where human infection has occurred, it was through physical contact and open cuts and wounds, not through the consumption of milk. Even if a farm worker does not develop a MRSA infection, the risk is that they may still be carriers of the bacteria and spread it throughout their community.

Helen Browning, director of the Organic Food Trade Group, says that this study highlights the need to minimize antibiotic use on farms. With more than 29 million pounds of antibiotics given to livestock every year, the overuse of these medications can cause antibiotic resistance to emerge which can result in difficult-to-treat infections. This new discovery of MRSA in milk should encourage people to rethink how antibiotics are currently being used on farms.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/jun/03/new-strain-mrsa-cattle-humans

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