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MRSA Found in UK Poultry, But Threat to Humans Considered Very Low

The U.K. Department of Health (DH) has identified the presence of livestock-associated MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in turkeys and chickens on a farm in East Anglia.

The BBC reports that it’s the first case of LA-MRSA in poultry in the U.K., and that two-thirds of the turkeys on the unnamed farm were infected. Hundreds of turkeys may have already been sold to local retail outlets.

LA-MRSA is not the same bacteria that cause the healthcare-associated infections that affect people. DH reports that the risk of getting it from eating poultry meat is very low if the meat is handled hygienically and cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria. The agency also says that the risk catching LA-MRSA from an animal is also very low.

LA-MRSA rarely causes disease in people, and, in most cases, the bacteria clear within 24 hours. If the strain were to affect humans, the DH says it would involve a mild skin infection.

“There are many different strains of MRSA that cause illness in people, but this is not one of the strains that we are overly concerned about, given the very low number of clinical infections that have been seen in people,” said Professor Angela Kearns, head of the Staphylococcus Reference service at Public Health England.

In addition, Peter Borriello, chief executive of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, said that LA-MRSA is not considered a significant risk to animal health and welfare.

© Food Safety News
  • guest

    amazing how they downplay this. antibiotic resistant bacteria…no worries….just cook it.

    • Tom

      well, it works

      • Oginikwe

        Yes except it’s on your utensils, in your sink, and anything else it touches.

        • Alan F

          That is why you must have good sanitation and cross-contamination control. It is foolish to assume any raw poultry is NOT contaminated with something.

          • Oginikwe

            Yes, well, we don’t worry about it because we grow our own. The level of contamination is the real problem: mass produced meat approaches the level of toxic waster.

            River of Waste: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-WAGf-4gC8

  • anthony samsel

    This is the typical “Don’t worry”baloney story told to the public over and over again. They wouldn’t want to frighten anybody now would they. However, the truth is that bacteria are very promiscuous and share plasmids which carry traits ! Any strain of MRSA can be shared with other bacteria by swapping plasmids. This is how bacteria adapt to new environments it is an inherent quality. This outbreak of LA-MRSA is due to the transmission of plasmids. Where did the resistance come from ? Bacterial resistance traits are common in genetically engineered crops.