There’s a new publication out that I haven’t been able to lay my hands on yet, except for the abstract. But here’s what I know: A group from the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety and two Austrian national reference laboratories have published a paper saying that ST 398, the “pig strain” of MRSA that we have been talking about here for a year now, has surfaced in Austria in environmental samples, in humans and also in food — presumably meat, but the abstract doesn’t say that.
The abstract in Wiener Klinischer Wochenshrift (Viennese weekly clinical review, if my college German is still with me) says:
…the emergence of ST398 is not just a Dutch problem, as reports on livestock colonization and human infections are appearing worldwide. In Austria, the ST398 lineage has been detected in dust samples from pig breeding facilities and in food samples. Since the first Austrian detection of this emerging lineage in 2006, 21 human isolates, partially associated with infections, have been observed. MRSA has to be regarded as a new emerging zoonotic agent and livestock may constitute a growing reservoir of the ST398 lineage.
The University of Minnesota (where, as you all know, I work part time for the excellent infectious-disease news site CIDRAP; please go) does not have electronic access to this journal, and ILL is slow. If anyone else has a copy and would like to share, I would be grateful.
The cite is: Springer, B. et al. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A new zoonotic agent? Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2009 Feb;121(3-4):86-90. Abstract here.