Strain of Deadly ‘Flesh-Eating’ MRSA Bacteria Originally Came from Cattle

roflbotMuch like HIV made the leap from non-human primates to us, a strain of the antibacterial-resistant pathogen MRSA seems to have originated with cattle:

Via Eurekalert:

A strain of bacteria that causes skin and soft tissue infections in humans originally came from cattle, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The researchers who conducted the genetic analysis of strains of Staphylococcus aureus known as CC97 say these strains developed resistance to methicillin after they crossed over into humans around forty years ago. Today, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain CC97 is an emerging human pathogen in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. The findings highlight the potential for cows to serve as a reservoir for bacteria with the capacity for pandemic spread in humans.

The researchers sequenced the genomes of 43 different CC97 isolates from humans, cattle, and other animals, and plotted their genetic relationships in a phylogenetic tree. Corresponding author Ross Fitzgerald of the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland says strains of CC97 found in cows appear to be the ancestors of CC97 strains from humans.

“Bovine strains seemed to occupy deeper parts of the phylogenetic tree – they were closer to the root than the human strains. This led us to conclude that the strains infecting humans originated in cows and that they had evolved from bovine to human host jumps,” says Fitzgerald.

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12 Comments on "Strain of Deadly ‘Flesh-Eating’ MRSA Bacteria Originally Came from Cattle"

  1. emperorreagan | Aug 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm |

    All factory farming is a breeding ground for disease and adaptations that will be harmful for humans.

    Whether it’s the monocultures for vegetables or factory farming livestock, I’ve only got 1 word for you: DOOM.

    Okay. Ten words for you:

  2. Is there any reason why feeding antibiotics to cattle for weight gain still legal other than bribes paid to legislators and regulators?

    • Anarchy Pony | Aug 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm |

      Because they can keep them(the cattle) in the most incredibly disgusting confines that you can imagine with a slightly reduced chance of horrific and probably fatal infection. Thus keeping production up and profits flowing.

      • emperorreagan | Aug 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm |

        The grad program I was in had a professor who made a ton of money patenting a pressure plate to sense lame cows/sheep. Apparently they just march milk cattle in a big circle and the pressure plate saved people from actually having to watch them.

      • That’s why the bribes are paid. My question is basically “what is the public interest in preserving a meat production system that’s become a clear and present danger to us.”

  3. BuzzCoastin | Aug 15, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

    CC97 say these strains developed resistance to methicillin
    after they crossed over into humans around forty years ago

    about the same time industrial cattle farming became ubiquitous
    which GMO corn & soy made possible
    can ya say Supersize me

  4. Codgitator | Aug 16, 2013 at 9:23 am |

    From Wikipedia: A 2011 study reported 47% of the meat and poultry sold in surveyed U.S. grocery stores was contaminated with S. aureus and, of those, 52%—or 24.4% of the total—were resistant to at least three classes of
    antibiotics. “Now we need to determine what this means in terms of risk
    to the consumer,” said Dr. Keim, a co-author of the paper.[16] Some samples of commercially sold meat products in Japan were also found to harbor MRSA strains.

    …Nothing to see here, move along. Move along.

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