Aetiology explains that pigs might be bringing us a disease worse than anything pork chops ever could. Check it out:
Both Mike and Revere have new posts up documenting swine as a new threat to human health (beyond the pork chops and bacon), via carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in these animals. Several papers have been published recently documenting high rates of MRSA carriage in swine in the Netherlands, and also have documented transmission of this bacterium from swine to humans. However, even more worrisome to me than the Dutch publications is a new one out in Veterinary Microbiology, showing high rates of MRSA in Canadian swine--and guess where we import about 9 million hogs from every year…A new reason for me to avoid bacon.
… To sample farmers, the investigators took only nasal swabs (Staph aureus is typically carried in the nose), but another recent paper suggests that the use of nasal swabs combined with throat swabs captures additional carriers (in their study, almost 13% of those who were positive for Staph aureus carried it in the throat alone--so even higher levels of farmers may be colonized than this study detected).