July 2022

One of the biggest concerns today for medical professionals is how quickly microorganisms evolve to combat our antimicrobial health efforts.

Over time, some bacteria and fungi become resistant to virtually all known antibiotics, posing a serious threat to public health.

Last month, scientists at Cambridge University published a study on a highly antibiotic resistant strain of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerging in livestock. The study suggests the emerging resistance is likely due to the intense use of antibiotics on in agriculture, allowing the isolated bacterial populations to incubate and adapt quickly in hosts over time.

“We found that the antibiotic resistance in this livestock-associated MRSA is extremely stable – it has persisted over several decades, and also the bacteria has spread across different livestock species.”

– Dr. Gemma Murrayn, head author on the study.

Although present in various animals, the MRSA strain, CC389, is most prominent in pigs. In 2008, only 5% of Danish farm pigs tested positive for CC389; in 2018, that rate rose to 90%. The pig emerging strain is now one of the most concerning microorganisms in Europe, and the bacteria continues to fight health officials’ containment efforts. Although cases of livestock-associated MRSA in humans are minimal, rates of infection are increasing.

MRSA infections are responsible for nearly 20,000 deaths in the U.S annually. To avoid infection, the CDC recommends avoiding contact with others’ personal items, covering and cleaning wounds, and washing your hands. The main issue remains the overuse of antibiotics.

If you are interested in learning more about MRSA or testing your products against the pathogen, contact our lab at [email protected].