An outbreak of the multidrug-resistant swine bacteria MRSA CC 398 at a nursing home has at least one researcher warning that its spread must be stopped.
“Agriculture has consistently argued that the pig bacteria is a safety problem that can only infect those who work in the stables,” Professor Hans Jørn Kolmos told DR Nyheder.
“Now we see a growing number of cases among people with no contact to the profession, and thus the situation is out of control.”
Fødevarestyrelsen and Sundhedsstyrelsen – the food and drug administration and the health department – have given up trying to locate the pig farms that are infected. Their latest strategy is to prevent the spread of the bacteria inside hospitals by screening patients who have had contact with pig production and isolating those who have the bacteria.
Kolmos said that strategy is bound to fail.
“The bacteria is increasingly infecting ordinary Danes without any contact with the industry, so you cannot stop the spread by simply screening those in contact with the industry when they go to the hospital.”
There are no rules requiring the screening of residents or workers in nursing homes.
Norway getting it right
An examination of slaughterhouses in 2012 found the bacteria in nearly 80 percent of the slaughtered pigs.
Kolmos said that authorities need to take learn from Norway about how to deal with the problem.
When the bacteria was found at ten Norwegian farms, the animals were slaughtered and the farms fully disinfected before new animals were permitted.
Every pig farm in Norway is screened, and there are rules in place to prevent the spread of the bacteria and the sale of infected animals.
“We should do what they are doing in Norway and try to limit the spread while there is still time,” said Kolmos.