The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the first EU-wide survey on MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in breeding pigs.
The results indicate that MRSA, a bacterium resistant to many antibiotics, is commonly detected in holdings with breeding pigs in some EU Member States. The survey provides estimates of its occurrence and makes recommendations for further monitoring and investigation of the causes and implications of MRSA findings in pig holdings in the EU.
The survey was carried out in 24 Member States, 17 of which found some type of MRSA in their holdings with breeding pigs and 7 none at all. On average, different types of MRSA were found in 1 out of 4 holdings with breeding pigs across the EU, but the survey also says that figures vary greatly between Member States. MRSA ST398 was the most reported type of MRSA among the holdings with breeding pigs in the EU; some Member States also reported other types, but their prevalence was much lower.
MRSA is a major concern for public health and its various types are recognised as an important cause of hospital-acquired (or nosocomial) infections in humans.
In the survey published today, EFSA recommends monitoring of pigs and other food producing animals for MRSA. It also says further research should be carried out, so that the reasons for differences in the prevalence of MRSA in the various Member States can be identified and used to propose options on possible control measures.
Source: EFSA – European Food Safety Authority