March 13, 2009

Big Pig Strikes Back
In the wake of Nick Kristof's column on MRSA infections among hog farmers, Ob Fo found evidence of Big Pig (the National Pork Board) prepping its response. And here it is in all its lameness:
"They are making a huge leap attributing MRSA in these people to hogs," says Angela DeMirjyn, science communications manager for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). The pork organization has been researching MRSA for some time, says DeMirjyn, and supports the CDC's statement that most community acquired MRSA infections are caused by a different bacteria than is commonly associated with pigs or pig farms.
There. Now don't you feel better? They're all over it like flies on, well, you get the point. They have, as that nameless intelligence bureaucrat assured Indiana Jones as regards research into the Ark of the Covenant, "top men working on it right now." Top men, indeed.

But wait, there's more rhetorical emptiness waiting for you:
"We also know that MRSA is not just staph bacteria that can be found in pigs, it also can be found in horses, dogs and even marine animals. It is not a problem that is solely related to pigs," DeMirjyn says.

MRSA, in fact, can be found anywhere in nature, according to Paul Ebner, a livestock microbiologist at Purdue University. While he says there has been an increase in the number of these infections and that pigs and other animals can be carriers, the vast majority of infections come from skin-to-skin contact with infected humans.
File that under "Beside The Point."

You know, I think these folks just might be panicked. Funny, Tom Philpott (at Grist) and I (at Ezra Klein's blog) covered the MRSA in pigs issue recently - it didn't get quite this reaction. I guess the Gray Lady has life in her yet.

Photo by johnmuk used under a CC license

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Blogger Unknown said...

I have spent almost decade on this disaster, day after day: there at the beginning, with pigs and in pig country when the horror story started

There is little doubt that MRSA in pigs has been leaking into the hospitals for some years.

There was a nasty mutation to a porcine circovirus in Britain in 1999 which caused an epidemic that required huge quantities of antibiotics to handle the consequences.

MRSA in pigs was the result, usually the ST398 strain.

The Dutch picked up the problem about four years ago and commendably made everything they knew public.

Both circovirus and MRSA epidemics have now travelled the world along with accompanying cover-ups. It is quite a nasty situation - now coming to light in the USA.

MRSA st398, mutated circovirus and various other unpleasant zoonotic diseases have now reached American pig farms.

The people exposing the scandal in the US are to be commended.

You do not need a cover-up on the scale of the one in Britain , that is a national disgrace,

I have extensive records available to anyone researching the link and can often answer general questions quickly and accurately.

Pat Gardiner
Release the results of testing British pigs for MRSA and C.Diff now! and

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