This paper almost slipped by me. It was published quietly a few weeks ago, and it’s a little eyebrow-raising. From EuroSurveillance, the open-access peer-reviewed bulletin of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (Europe’s CDC): The ST398 strain of MRSA, better known as “livestock-associated MRSA” or just “pig MRSA,” has been found for the first time in milk in England. (And therefore probably in cows, or at least on farms.)
Apparently there has been an ongoing study looking for any evidence of MRSA in UK cows, possibly because of this news from last year (of which more in a minute). Between last January and July, the program tested 1,500 samples of milk from farms’ bulk tanks — that’s the cooler in which milk from a number of cows is collected until it can be picked up by a truck for processing — and found seven of the samples were contaminated by MRSA. All seven isolates were MRSA ST398, the livestock-associated strain. Three came from one farm, so five farms had MRSA in their tanks. According to the paper, this is the first discovery of ST398 in the UK other than one finding in horses in 2009.