It’s already been established that farmers and workers at hog production facilities can acquire bacteria in their noses. A recent study, however, shows that they are actually at increased risk of infection. Many now have developed skin infections from “superbugs,” which, is a frightening predicament.
What’s a Superbug?
It’s not a real bug; it’s an indestructible form of bacteria. The superbug has emerged from the overuse of antibiotics. Bacteria has mutated and become more powerful with each line of antibiotic defense we’ve invented. What’s happened now is that the bug has become stronger than the medicine.
The superbug has become drug-resistant.
It appears we are unable to fight what was once an ordinary staph infection. MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) can be acquired at gyms, in the hospital, or anywhere germs can grow and multiply easily.
Back in May, Thrive’s founder, Dr. Dave Campbell, weighed-in on the superbug topic. Click here to watch his appearance and discussion on MSNBC.
Without creating alarm, it is still important to understand that each year, around the world, approximately 700,000 people die from superbug infections.
Hog Facility Workers
Those who work in the hog farming business have been urged to wear masks when in the production facility. Pigs are given antibiotics, so they don’t fall ill and grow faster. Due to overuse, bacteria has become resistant, and infections are not responding to medicinal treatment.
So, it appears that humans are at risk from working in these types of environments. This particular research even shows that family members of the workers have contracted untreatable staph infections as well.
The participants in the study (over 100 hog facility workers and 80 children in their households) had their noses swabbed for bacteria. The study revealed that 44 percent of the workers and 39 percent of their household members had staph. Almost half of those infected were multi-drug resistant.
Those with livestock-facility borne staph in their noses were five times more likely to have a skin or soft-tissue infection. Those who were already multidrug-resistant were almost 10 times more likely to develop “incurable” skin infections.
It Doesn’t Have to Be So Bleak
Prescribers of antibiotics need to be vigilant about not over-prescribing. Antibiotic users should absolutely complete doses. We can support food producers who do not use antibiotics or growth hormones in their livestock and products. We can also support research that deigns to discover new ways to battle the superbug.