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MRSA - swine

The surveillance started in 2014.

Identify the prevalence of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Norwegian sow herds and thereby provide a decision basis for the authorities. 

A variant of MRSA called «livestock associated MRSA (LA-MRSA), or animal associated MRSA, has in the course of a few years established itself in the world’s pig population.

Results from the Norwegian monitoring in 2008, 2011 and 2012 indicated very low prevalence of MRSA-positive pig herds in the country. LA-MRSA (livestock MRSA) was detected in samples from pigs first time in 2011, and in 2013 there have been two separate outbreaks of infection with LA-MRSA in Norwegian pig herds, one in Eastern part of Norway and one in Rogaland (Western Part). The Food Safety Authorities decided to try to fight the bacteria in infected herds by slaughtering of animals, thorough cleaning and disinfection of appropriate rooms, and restarting the production with MRSA-free pigs. This is a very expensive and resource intensive process both for the farmers concerned and the authorities. As far as we know, such an attempt to eradicate MRSA from pig herds has not been conducted in other countries.

As a basis for the selection of future strategy for handling of LA-MRSA in Norwegian pig herds, it is important to get good epidemiological data on the prevalence of LA-MRSA in Norwegian swine herds, and to see this in context with the lessons learned from the outbreaks in 2013.