MRSA, the type of bacteria that is known to be resistant to common antibiotics, can be spread in the community by getting into contact with infected individuals or by sharing personal items with them.
A specific MRSA strain known as CC398 that has emerged in the last few decades among pigs is what’s now causing concerns, as it’s highly resistant to antibiotics and can even pass to humans. The findings represent the work of a new study that Phys.org tells the world about. Pigs are not the only animals where the CC398 MRSA strain was found, as it has maintained its resistance to antibiotics among other livestock as well.
We could blame it on antibiotics
It’s ironic that antibiotics themselves might be to blame for the evolution of the MRSA strain in question. The pigs aren’t affected directly by MRSA – in other words, these animals don’t get sick. The CC398 strain has had the most evident increase in pig farms in Denmark.
Dr. Gemma Murray explains more, who is the lead author of the new study, as Phys.org quotes:
Historically high levels of antibiotic use may have led to the evolution of this highly antibiotic resistant strain of MRSA on pig farms.
She also added as the same source quotes:
We found that the antibiotic resistance in this livestock-associated MRSA is extremely stable—it has persisted over several decades, and also as the bacteria has spread across different livestock species.
What gives antibiotic resistance to MRSA are two genetic elements known as Tn916 and SCCmec. The researchers even found that those elements were capable of maintaining themselves in stable forms in the CC398 strain.
MRSA has been identified in human patients in the past, but we can only hope that it won’t happen anytime soon.
The new study was published in eLife.