Hospital MRSA Traced to U.K. Livestock

British researchers urge strict agricultural standards to prevent MRSA's spread

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 5, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hospitals can be traced back to livestock, and the strain's resistance to antibiotics is likely due to the widespread use of antibiotics on farms, according to a study published in the December issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

The researchers found that a strain of MRSA called CC398 was present in some U.K. hospitals. This strain is found in livestock but can be transmitted to people, and these findings show that it can spread in hospitals, the researchers noted.

The results highlight the need for strict antibacterial safeguards in the food industry, and responsible use of antibiotics in agriculture and health care, the researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland said in a university news release.

"Our findings emphasize the need for strict biosecurity practices in the food production industry, as well as continued surveillance and infection control of MRSA in hospitals," lead researcher Melissa Ward, Ph.D., said in the news release. "Responsible use of antibiotics in health care settings and agriculture is of utmost importance."

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