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Friday, June 3, 2011

UK : New strain of MRSA superbug found in cows

Via BBC, excerpt :

" A new strain of the MRSA "superbug" has been found in British cows and is believed to be infecting humans.

Environmental campaigners say the new strain has emerged because of the over-use of antibiotics by dairy farmers.

Dr Mark Holmes of Cambridge University, who led the research, said this was a "credible hypothesis".

The researchers, writing in the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal, say there is no additional health risk from eating milk and dairy products.

'Financial pressure'

MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a drug-resistant form of a usually harmless bacterium which can be deadly when it infects wounds.

The 35 or so strains of antibiotic-resistant superbugs are genetically fairly similar. However, this new variety is very different and it is thought that it might have first emerged from cows.

Its discoverers have dubbed it "New MRSA"

Antibiotics are widely used by dairy farmers to treat cows with mastitis. However over-use means some bacteria become resistant and difficult to treat if humans become infected.

Dr Holmes said the problem might be exacerbated by financial pressures on diary farmers."

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