Livestock-associated MRSA found in poultry
27th November 2013
The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has identified the presence of Livestock-Associated Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) on a poultry farm.
The discovery of this livestock-associated strain of MRSA in poultry should present a very low risk to human health, provided normal hygiene and cooking procedures are followed. In general, poultry meat should always be cooked well, and this will kill off this strain of MRSA and other bacteria. People preparing meat should ensure that they thoroughly wash their hands, utensils and surfaces that have come into contact with uncooked meat. The NHS have a comprehensive guide on safe handling and cooking of poultry: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthychristmas/Pages/cooking-turkey.aspx
There is no evidence that this strain is able to colonise or infect humans, and it is a different strain to the human-adapted strains, such as the ones that cause problems in hospitals. At the moment, there is no indication of where this strain of MRSA has arisen, and no link can yet be inferred with antibiotic use in poultry. But it shows the importance of programmes to monitor antibiotic resistance in bacteria in farm animals, and the need for alternatives that maintain standards of animal health and welfare should antibiotic resistant bacteria become more prevalent.