Vet bodies issue joint statement on piglet disease

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and the Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) have released a statement on the isolation of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) in piglets in eastern England.

The BVA’s journal Veterinary Record reported that two 10-day-old piglets with skin lesions were submitted to an APHA veterinary investigation centre on 30 December 2014. Eleven litters were affected and, of 60 piglets with the condition, six died.

The joint statement by the BVA and PVS read: “With the movement of different livestock species and humans between the UK and countries with high prevalence of LA-MRSA it is disappointing, but perhaps not surprising, to have detected LA-MRSA in pigs in England.

“Some media reports have speculated about the infectivity of the organism. An opportunist infection of the skin or other sites in MSRA-colonised animals is a recognised occurrence and does not, in itself, imply that LA-MRSA has greater infectivity.

“It is also worth noting that while antimicrobial use has played a role in the emergence of MRSA, its subsequent spread relates mainly to it being a successful bacterial species, not to antimicrobial use. LA-MRSA has been found in animals in which no antimicrobials have been used.”

Public Health England has advised that LA-MRSA represents a very low risk to public health, rarely causing disease in humans.

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