Thursday, December 7, 2017
Workers at industrial farms carry drug-resistant bacteria associated with livestock. A new study found drug-resistant bacteria associated with livestock in the noses of industrial livestock workers in North Carolina but not in the noses of antibiotic-free livestock workers. The drug-resistant bacteria examined were Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as "Staph," which include the well-known bug MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).New Staph strains are emerging in people who have close contact with livestock animals and for this reason have been given the name livestock-associated Staph. While everyone in the study had direct or indirect contact with livestock, only industrial workers carried antibiotic-resistant Staph with multiple genetic characteristics linked to livestock. Many industrial livestock operations raise animals in large conferment buildings and use antibiotics, including non-therapeutically in animals' feed and water to promote their growth. Previous studies have detected strains of drug-resistant S. aureus from livestock, first among farm workers, and subsequently in hospital and community settings in Europe. S. aureus can cause a range of illnesses in humans, from minor to life-threatening skin, bloodstream, respiratory, urinary and surgical site infections. Like most illnesses caused by bacteria, S. aureus infections are treated with antibiotics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some Staph cannot be killed by antibiotics, meaning they are resistant.