Identification of Livestock-Associated Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA MRSA) in UK turkeys
1. The group were provided with a press release, research papers and oral update in relation to the recent finding of LA-MRSA in turkeys on a farm in East Anglia.
2. Members were informed that in October 4 turkeys were submitted to an Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) lab for diagnosis and Staphylococci were cultured from the lung of one of these birds which proved to be LA-MRSA ST398 spa-type t011. The strain was found to be resistant to tetracyclines, penicillins and meticillin but susceptible to a number of other antimicrobials, including macrolides and fluoroquinolones.
3. The group was informed that the strain isolated was common in livestock in continental Europe but had not previously been detected in livestock in the UK. This strain had been isolated in the UK from a few human cases and also detected in horses and in about 5 of 1500 bulk milk samples from dairy herds. In 2007 a survey of UK breeding pigs found that all were negative for this strain.
4. It was noted that AHVLA, Public Health England and the Food Standards Agency had been in liaison over the incident and had issued a press release explaining there was no indication of foodborne transmission of MRSA and the risk of contracting LA-MRSA from eating poultry meat was considered very low. The FSA had also issued a press release reiterating their standard food safety messages about thorough cooking of poultry meat.
5. Following discussion the group concluded that there was little evidence in relation to LA-MRSA in the UK, but the available evidence did not suggest a foodborne issue in the UK or Europe at present. Members agreed to monitor the situation as it develops, both in the UK and in other parts of Europe. The group suggested that inclusion of LA-MRSA in future food surveillance may require consideration.