PARMA, ITALY — The first E.U.-wide survey on M.R.S.A. (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in breeding pigs has been published by the European Food Safety Authority (E.F.S.A.).

M.R.S.A., a bacterium resistant to many antibiotics, is commonly detected in holdings with breeding pigs in some E.U. member states, according to the results. The survey provides estimates of its occurrence and makes recommendations for further monitoring and investigation of the causes and implications of M.R.S.A. findings in pig holdings in the E.U.

The survey was carried out in 24 member states, 17 of which found some type of M.R.S.A. in their holdings with breeding pigs and seven none at all. Different types of M.R.S.A. were found, on average, in one out of four holdings with breeding pigs throughout the E.U., but the survey also indicates figures vary greatly between member states.

M.R.S.A. ST398 was the most reported type of M.R.S.A. among the holdings with breeding pigs in the E.U.; some member states also reported other types, but their prevalence was much lower.

M.R.S.A. is a public health concern and its various types are recognized as an important cause of hospital-acquired infections in humans. M.R.S.A. ST398 has been identified in some domestic animals and is considered an occupational health risk for farmers, veterinarians and their families, who may become exposed to it through direct or indirect contact with these animals.