- 94,360 invasive MRSA infections occurred in the United States in 2005
- these infections were associated with death in 18,650 cases.
- A 2007 report from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology estimated that 46 of every 1,000 people hospitalized are infected or colonized with MRSA.
- MRSA kills something close to 20,000 Americans every year - more than AIDS. Caused by:
- Unnecessary antibiotic use. Like other superbugs, MRSA is the result of decades of excessive and unnecessary antibiotic use in food and water. Prescription drugs aren't the only source of antibiotics.
- In the U.S. antibiotics can be found in livestock. These antibiotics find their way into municipal water systems when the runoff from feedlots contaminates streams and groundwater. 70% of pharmacuticals produced in the U.S. are fed to farmed animals.
- Germ mutation.
So, do we have MRSA in American grown pigs? The Food and Drug Administration says it doesn't know. And that's because neither the meat industry, the USDA, the FDA or the EPA tests for it.
I guess this is a don't ask - don't tell kind of situation.
Mike Herndon, an FDA spokesman, said their scientists have been "following the emergence of MRSA from humans and animals in Europe and Canada and are monitoring the situation very closely." And the National Pork Producers Council in Washington is sure there's no problem.... "there is nothing to worry about; MRSA (in pigs) has not been found this side of the border" and "USDA and CDC has given our pigs a clean bill of health." CDC would not verify this statement.
Interestingly, the pork lobbyists have said their industry would oppose any attempt to test all livestock for MRSA, calling the testing "unnecessary to protect public health."
Ignorance is bliss... so eat your bacon and fuggetaboutit. The Bush Administration ignored pleas from Congress and public health advocates who demand to know if highly infectious MRSA has entered the food supply.
Despite the lack of cooperation from both the government and the American Meat Institute researcher, Dr. Tara Smith conductedastudy anyway, documenting 10 swine farms in Iowa and Illinois, finding MRSA to exist in 70% of these barns.Another study focused on 20 workers at one Iowa swine farm and found 45% of the workers carried the same MRSA as the pigs. But, it's just not the pigs or the flesh that may be contaiminated, but the ground water as well. Does the EPA test for MRSA bacteria? NO. In fact, during the last days of the Bush Administration CAFO(concentrated animal feeding operations), or known better as "factory farms" was given a leinient new ruling that relieves these animal growers from reporting on discharges from manure lagoons.