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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

GW Study: Livestock-Associated MRSA Causes Serious Blood Infections in People

A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases has found that livestock-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) can cause serious bloodstream infections in people. Researchers studied blood stream infections caused by all strains of MRSA in Denmark from 2010 to 2014. They found that blood infections from LA-MRSA were on the rise, peaking in 2014 and accounting for 16 percent of all MRSA bloodstream infections.

[Photo: Dr. Lance B. Price]

“For years people have been saying that LA-MRSA was benign causing mostly manageable skin infections in farm workers and veterinarians,” said Dr. Lance B. Price, one of the senior authors on the paper and the director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW). “But now we see that this strain is just as dangerous as other types of MRSA and that it’s spilling off the farm and into the community. It’s infecting vulnerable populations like the elderly and people with compromised immune systems—we can’t afford to ignore superbugs like these as they spread through our livestock and food supplies.”

Pigs are believed to be the primary source of LA-MRSA in Denmark where it has been found on 60 percent of farms. LA-MRSA can spread from the farm animals to people through direct contact with the animals, through contaminated meat that’s produced from the animals, and possibly through air and water near industrial hog operations.

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