Antibiotic use linked to dangerous antibacterial-resistant bacterium

Photo Credit: Randy Heinitz Photo Credit: Randy Heinitz

Researchers at The Roslin Institute at The University of Edinburgh recently found that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) originated in cattle. The study, which was published in mBio, reported that the jump from livestock to human hosts occurred over 40 years ago, likely through direct contact with livestock workers. This is one of the first studies showing that antibacterial-resistant diseases that arise in livestock can ultimately affect human health. “Our findings demonstrate that livestock can act as a reservoir for the emergence of new human bacterial clones with potential for pandemic spread, highlighting the potential role of surveillance and biosecurity measures in the agricultural setting for preventing the emergence of new human pathogens,” state the researchers. This is especially important in the face of increased use of antibiotics in livestock rearing. The continued use of high quantities of antibiotics could result in the development and spread of new, more virulent strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.