Minister reveals MRSA action plan

Antibiotics use will be reduced by 15 percent over the next three years

In his quest to fight MRSA, the food and agriculture minister Dan Jørgensen has begun negotiating an ambitious action plan that aims to drastically reduce the use of antibiotics in agriculture.

The government will now commence negotiations with the rest of the parties in parliament regarding a four-year plan that contains four central points.

”The development of MRSA in farm animals shows there is a need to step up our efforts,” Jørgensen said.

”Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes that can make the problem disappear overnight, so I'm gearing up for a broad political agreement concerning a long-term battle strategy.”

READ MORE: Twice as many people infected by swine-borne MRSA last year

Two-thirds infected
Nationwide screening results have shown that the number of infected pig populations have quadrupled over the past four years, and that about 66 percent of all Danish pig populations are infected now.

That has happened despite the use of antibiotics in pig farming being reduced by 18 percent since 2009.

The MRSA staphylococcus bacteria is resistant to standard penicillin and can be transferred from animal to human and from human to human.

Fact box

The four central themes of Jørgensen's action plan are:

– The use of antibiotics in pig farming must be reduced by 15 percent from 2015-2018. Moreover, the antibiotic tetracycline – the most criticised antibiotic – is to be phased out as soon as possible.

– Improved hygiene for all those who work in pig stalls

– Programs established that will monitor the development of MRSA in farm animals

– Improved research of infection routes and alternatives to antibiotics