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Antibiotics for treating mastitis in cows was 'cause of new MRSA variant'

Scientists believe that cows’ milk could be the source of the new variant of meticilin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus identified in the UK and Denmark.

Image: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A NEW VARIANT of MRSA has been discovered in cows’ milk from the UK and Denmark, according to a new study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

This is the same strain of MRSA that was discovered in two Dublin hospitals.

The BBC reports that Dr Mark Holmes of Cambridge University and his colleague Dr Laura Garcia-Alvarez were studying a bacterium known to cause mastitis in cows when they discovered the new strain.

They then discovered that the strain was also present in humans, which was “very worrying”.

When MRSA infects wounds this drug-resistant form of bacteria can be deadly.

Dairy cows are susceptible to mastitis, which farmers treat with antibiotics.

The use of these antibiotics can mean that some bacteria become resistant. In turn, if humans become infected the disease can be very difficult to treat, the BBC reports.

It is also said that if farmers drive their cows to produce more milk, there is more chance of mastitis, and that dairy systems are becoming overly dependent on using antibiotics.

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Fewer than 100 people per year in the UK are infected with this strain.

However the study says that the risk of infection through drinking milk is “extremely low”.

Read the BBC article here>

Read the study on in the Lancet Infectious Diseases website>

Researchers discover new form of MRSA superbug in two Dublin hospitals>

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