Drug-resistant staph infections in Europe could mark beginning of a new epidemic

October 18, 2011FLAGSTAFF, ArizonaA relatively new type of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus could represent the world’s next bacterial epidemic, an environmental health expert said here today at a conference for science writers. The superbug, called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain 398, or MRSA ST398, was first identified in an infant in the Netherlands in 1994 and traced back to her family’s pigs. Now, researchers are starting to see more serious infections and some of the cases reveal no direct link to livestock, said Lance B. Price, director of the Center for Microbiomics and Human Health at The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), in Flagstaff. “The rate of human [ST398] infections is going up in Denmark and the Netherlands,” Price said. “We are just looking at the beginning of an epidemic.” Price made his comments during a presentation at the 49th annual New Horizons in Science meeting, organized by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. The mechanism for transmission in these newer ST398 cases currently is unknown. Researchers are considering various explanations including human-to-human exposure, contaminated meat or changes in the organism that make it spread more easily, Price said.
 Already, ST398 was recently found in about half of the pigs and farmers tested in Iowa. ST398 probably started out as a human-associated strain that was treatable with methicillin, a recent analysis by Price and his colleagues has revealed. Animal husbandry practices subsequently allowed the strain to spread into livestock. Meat production worldwide involves the use of life-saving human-class antibiotics as a preventive measure or production tool to keep animals healthy. However, the bacterial die-off then exercises a selection pressure on the remaining smaller population of bacteria, giving rise to antibiotic-resistant strains. With ST398, that probably led to drug-resistant strains of the bug, which were then passed back to humans via contact with livestock. “It’s a pretty sad cycle really,” Price said. Staph aureus infections can cause skin and soft tissue infections, respiratory tract infections like pneumonia, bacteremia (the presence of bacteria in the blood) and endocarditis (inflammation of the inner heart). Until the use of antibiotics in the developed world became widespread in the 1940s, these infections were often fatal. A rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the past two decades means the door is open to a return to a dire medical scenario that prevailed nearly a century ago. In fact, even now, methicillin-resistant Staph aureus kills more people in the U.S. than HIV, Price said. Industrial-scale livestock farming practices are often the culprit in the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. There are 9 billion livestock animals in the U.S. (mostly broiler chickens) and 29 million pounds of active antibiotics are administered to food animals in this country each year. The animals are raised in crowded and perhaps filthy settings. The result is a profitable meat industry that makes this food affordable for much of the nation’s population (at a significant, long-term environmental cost when scaled up to current levels) but also one of the most effective systems for the evolution and transmission of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that an engineer could devise, Price said. These strains persist on animal carcasses and then are passed on to humans via the meat we purchase and eat.Scientific American
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18 Responses to Drug-resistant staph infections in Europe could mark beginning of a new epidemic

  1. Pagan says:

    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

    T.S . Eliot

    For some reason the threat of new bacterial epedemics send a chill down my spine. Deja vu. I have recurring dreams of worldwide contagion, never about anything else apocolyptic. I hope I am wrong.



    • JoshuaNB says:

      Perhaps, Pagan… you are recalling the 4th seal {of the tribulation} that is broken in Rev. 6. First, the white horse and rider wins many battles of victory {of truth}. Second, the red horse and rider remove peace from earth and there is war and slaughter everywhere. When the ‘Lamb’ breaks the third seal, there is no money for even a loaf of bread and there is worldwide famine. Fourth, is the pale green horse, like a corpse and death was the name of its rider ~~ and there is death, famine and disease worldwide.

      In Rev 3 God promises to all of those who ‘persevere’ for Him, He will take us out of this place while He destroys all liars and those who hate Him. I have complete faith that my God, and all who love Him, will be safe in this time, as we have been held close to Him all the time we have been here on earth, aka hell. Nothing to fear….. but fear itself..

      I hope this is posted, I am only the messenger, not the author.


    • Paula says:

      Hi Pagan,
      Here is a good reason to stock up on the natural anti biotics that germs have not mutated a resistance to: colloidal silver, golden seal, certain Chinese Herbs, lomatium, etc.. your local health food coop will have them. Dreams are scary, I know and people everywhere are faltering under the onslaught of events… but all will be well and all manner of thing shall be well- sooner or later,
      All the best


      • Pagan says:

        Paula, thanks for the tips. I am a vegetarian who has been trained in herblore so I mainly grow my own organic produce & only consume naturopathic antibiotics when needed – including Echinacea, Usnea, golden seal & of course both honey & garlic for infection. My dreams don’t scare me at all – I record them in journals.

        There’s a storm coming & I doubt any amount of either natural or synthetically produced resistance drugs are going to be of much help when it hits, though it is prudent to stockpile food & medicines. It is also a good idea to learn the properties/effects of any drugs you stockpile – when events escalate, that knowledge can be bartered for safety.

        Blessings to you


    • paula says:

      HI Pagan,

      Just saw your reply, and I really appreciate it and all your comments. We are in for quite an experience on planet earth and your wisdom is a blessing.


  2. Best reason for shopping at your organic co-op. We have many organic co-ops in Northern New Mexico. Everything is slightly higher in price, but it’s worth it to factor in the advantages you receive by buying organic meat, eggs, and dairy, to avoid the hormones and antibiotics fed to animals. People who want low cost meat are taking a chance on their health and that of their neighbors.


  3. ArieZ says:

    Alvin, I have a real life story involving a new form MRSA that the state Government here in California doesn’t report but it’s a known problem among Inmates in Northern California (San Jose California). In the couple of years I spent incarcerated I have been Evacuated at least 3 times along with my whole dorm from an Airborn Form of Staphacocous Arialis (sorry I’m not sure how it was spelled) I have seen them come in the Dorms with Full Respirator suits and replace phones/sinks/toilets/mattresses, then they would try an sterilize the whole place with this crazy foaming agent. I witnessed it because I was in the Dorms when they were evacuated and was told to stay in a holding cell by the Officers because I was a Trustee. I needed to be there to help restock the Dorm in Bedding/Toiletries when they were done. After 2 years of being there the Officers kinda knew me so they would talk to me here and there and that’s how I found out what it really was. Shortly after these incidents the Jail bought all new clothing for the Entire Inmate Population in hopes to get rid of any remaining Bacteria. One of the Officers I was talking to said it wasn’t being reported in the Newspapers because the Facility would have to be shut down and that wasn’t an option with the States Overcrowded Prisons. (True Story)


    • linda says:

      ooh…thanks for the info


    • Victoria says:

      Scary. I too am in Cali and have heard and seen ALOT of MRSA related illness/death. Thanx for the info. Peace…


    • Ron Mitchell says:

      you may want to have a look at this (ZeoLife is a powerful detoxification formula.

      ZeoLife is a blood purifying, all natural immune-enhancing formula that safely removes poisons from your body–chemicals and heavy metals–while restoring the essential minerals needed for better health, vitality, and longevity. This all natural formula contains quality organic zeolite energetically treated to gather and safely remove more harmful chemicals and heavy metals from your body than competing products.

      Everyday we are all exposed to harmful chemicals and heavy metals in air, food, and water. ZeoLife protects health by lowering these risks, boosting natural immunity, and preventing intoxication reactions that commonly concern doctors and patients.) and this website http://www.healthyworldaffiliates.com/3407


  4. Harry K says:

    each critter is a spirit having a body. If you would treat GOD proper than begin by how we treat our fellow creatures. I am ashamed to be a human.
    Thank you much for this site.


  5. navedz says:

    The fact that consumption of pork is prohibited in Islam is well known.

    1. Pork-prohibited in Qur’an The Qur’an prohibits the consumption of pork in no less than 4 different places. Its prohibited in 2:173, 5:3, 6:145 and 16:115.

    Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked a name other than that of Allah. [Al-Qur’an 5:3] The above verses of the Holy Qur’an are sufficient to satisfy a Muslim as to why pork is forbidden.

    2. Pork prohibited in the Bible
    The Christian is likely to be convinced by his religious scriptures. The Bible prohibits the consumption of pork, in the book of Leviticus and the swine, as he divideth the hoof, and be cloven footed, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcass shall ye not touch, they are unclean to you. Leviticus chapter 11 verse 7 and 8:

    Pork is also prohibited in the book of Deuteronomy
    And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you. Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass. Deuteronomy chapter 14 verse 8:

    A similar prohibition is repeated in the book of Isaiah chapter 65 verse 2-5.

    And Allah knows best!


  6. Hélios says:

    Time to go VEGAN !


  7. People it maybe time to start making and saving supplies of coloidial silver….. drugs such as antivirals and antibiotics are going to become both scarce and useless against these kind of epidemics


  8. Gen says:

    There is also a spike in influenza cases in Australia. Highest for decade.



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