New MRSA superbug discovered in cows’ milk

by Catherine de Lange
New Scientist
June 3, 2011

A new strain of MRSA has been identified in cows’ milk and in people, but don’t stop drinking milk – the bug is killed off in pasteurisation.

However, the strain evades detection by standard tests used by some hospitals to screen for MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), potentially putting people at risk.

Laura Garcia Alvarez, then at the University of Cambridge, and colleagues were studying infections in British cows when they discovered antibiotic-resistant bacteria that they thought were MRSA. However, tests failed to identify the samples as any known strains of the superbug.

Sequencing the mystery bacteria’s genomes revealed a previously unknown strain of MRSA with a different version of a gene called MecA. The new strain was also identified in samples of human MRSA, and is now known to account for about 1 per cent of human MRSA cases.

Most tests look for the original MecA gene to identify MRSA. However, they do not detect the new version of the gene, which means the tests need to be updated.

In countries such as Denmark, for example, where the new strain has been identified in humans, hospitals use this kind of test to screen patients for MRSA when then enter the hospital, says study co-author Mark Holmes. People carrying the new strain might therefore be allowed into hospitals by mistake, or treated with the wrong antibiotics.

People in the UK should be at less risk, because most British hospitals screen for MRSA by testing whether it will grow in the presence of antibiotics; this should pick up any strain of MRSA, although further tests would be needed to identify which it is.

Pasteurising contaminated milk makes it safe to drink, but contact with infected animals or drinking unpasteurised milk containing MRSA could increase the risk of becoming a carrier.

Journal reference: The Lancet Infectious Diseases, DOI: 10.1016/s1473-3099(11)70126-8

About Luis Miranda
The Real Agenda is an independent publication. It does not take money from Corporations, Foundations or Non-Governmental Organizations. It provides news reports in three languages: English, Spanish and Portuguese to reach a larger group of readers. Our news are not guided by any ideological, political or religious interest, which allows us to keep our integrity towards the readers.

One Response to New MRSA superbug discovered in cows’ milk

  1. MadeleineT says:

    Gee, would this have anything to do with the farmers who sell raw milk to a small group of people who have signed up for that and have been drinking it all of their lives and never gotten sick? would this have anything to do with the Amish who also drink raw unpasteurized milk? Our Government has been after these farmers, especially the Amish, for a year or more , they are in court with one of them right now, the inspectors come at 4AM in the morning unannounced to check all of the dairy farms to see if they are still producing and selling raw milk and cheese.I thought this all came from Leafy vegetables and cucumbers? now its the milk, or is this one of those lets not waste a good crisis monments?

    Is anything safe to eat or drink anymore? Since the homeland security and FEMA do not want you to grow your own food or stockpile food for more than two weeks, which is funny considering they just ordered a million dollars worth of dehydrated food for their own use, probably for those survival tunnels they have 2 miles under ground which we paid for. This is all too ridiculous for me, it is so transparent and sounds as though they are trying to create more chaos , as if we didnt’ have enough. Its about time someone put a stop to food that is created using eboli among other viruses right in the seeds, what does anyone expect to happen when no one ever goes to Monsantos labs and checks out what they are doing. Monsanto also hooked up with another chemical corp in Germany called Barr. Two chemical compnies planning your food supply for you, why is this even allowed? Is Monsanto part of our Federal Government? If not they should be given the boot, they have already done too much damage to be counted. They are also Global.When it was mentioned that homeland security wouldn’t allow you to grow your own food because it was dangerous, no one stood up and told them to mind their business, remember victory gardens? they were encouraged by our Government if you were lucky enough to have a back yard to grow your own food, if not you could use your fire escape and window boxes, I did that for awhile and had lettuce and tomatoes all summer, I’m still here to tell the tale, what is dangerous is people telling you what you can grow, what you can eat, if you can have a rain barrel and ridiculous over reaching of this Government into our lives , its unconstitutional, but with this Government, who cares?