Cattle Farms Breed New Strains of 'Superbug'

December 04, 2007 10:24 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
European researchers have tracked an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria to large, intensive livestock operations; modern farming techniques present a new human health hazard.

30-Second Summary

The Economist has reported that researchers are finding methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on large-scale farms in Europe, where hundreds of animals are clustered together.

One strain of the bacteria, called non-typable MRSA, is resistant to the types of antibiotics typically given to livestock. The NT-MRSA strain appeared in 2002, according to The Economist, and is now found in 20 percent of human infections.

Though S. aureus can live harmlessly on a person’s skin, if it gets into the bloodstream, it can be deadly, because it is resistant to many antibiotics.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that, in 2005, MRSA killed nearly 19,000 people in the United States.

Earlier this year, the bacteria, also called the “superbug,” was responsible for children’s deaths in New Hampshire, Mississippi and Virginia.

Headline links: ‘Superbug’ appears on large farms, hospitalizations increase

Reference Material: MRSA information and a livestock study


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