Agribusiness

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New rules in Denmark to fight dangerous swine-bacteria: Banning visits to infected farms – but farms remain clandestine

Nick Hækkerup, Socialdemokratiet. Forsvarsminister.

At least every second Danish swine farm is probably infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to new investigations. Ministers demand total sterilization of 500 farms for breeding pigs and ban public visits to infected farms – but keep the names of these farms secret. – The Danish Food Administration is in the process of analyzing tests from 200 farms. The results will be available later this year. But I can say now that we expect that 50 percent or more will be tested positive. I have therefore asked for a reassessment of the risks, said Danish Minister of Food and Agriculture Dan Jørgensen (S) in an open meeting in the Agriculture Committee under the Danish Parliament Wednesday 27th of August. Continue Reading →

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Infected with MRSA: I feel like a leper

Direct contact with infected animals has the highest risk of transmitting the MRSA-infection to humans.

Kenneth Sørensen talks about what it’s like to be infected with the dangerous pig bacteria MRSA – and to be resistant to various kinds of antibiotics. “They cannot operate someone like you at Frederikshavn Hospital.” This is what a nurse told  33-year-old Kenneth Sørensen when he a few months ago had a hernia. Kenneth Sørensen. (Photo: Michael Bo Rasmussen)

– The message from the nurse was disheartening. And frustrating. I wanted to cry. Continue Reading →

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The cost of antibiotic resistance: 25,000 deaths per year, and counting

Sir Alexander Fleming, (6 August 1881 – 11 March 1955) was a Scottish biologist, pharmacologist and botanist. His best-known discovery is the antibiotic substance penicillin in 1928.

European authorities have no records on the new spread of resistance germs from pigs to humans. Scientists say the total death toll for resistant antibiotics is outdated and too low. The news of four deaths in Denmark caused by infections from livestock associated (LA) resistant germs has not reached European authorities, except through media reports. The European Centre of Disease Prevention and Control, ECDC, based in Solna, Sweden keeps no record of infections from different strains of resistant bacteria. Dominique L. Monnet, Head of the Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections Programme at ECDC, explains in a written comment:
”No EU survey on human infections due to LA-MRSA CC398 is currently planned by ECDC. Continue Reading →

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Germs can take shelter behind EU-law

Nine out of ten pigs for the slaughterhouse in Denmark is now infected with MRSA. The pig-MRSA trnasferred to humans is a growing problem.

The European Union has so far only ”recommendations” and ”support” to offer against resistant germs. A ”stamping out” strategy Norwegian style is ruled out in the EU. The Commission, the EU’s governmental body and the only institution empowered to propose legislation, has so far taken a cautious stand on the threat of antibiotic resistance. An action plan was put forward in 2011 in what is called a communication (COM/2011/748). EU-ministers in the Council adopted its conclusive points the year after. None of the 12 identified key actions sanctioned by the Council go further than to ”introduce recommendations”, “promote efforts”, “co-ordinate research” and the like; all different expressions of soft law. Continue Reading →

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Here are the heavy users of antibiotics in pig-production – expert warns high use cause more dangerous MRSA

Around 1500-2000 Danish pigfarms is now infected with MRSA, is the estimation. This is a heavy growth over the last two years despite the effort to stop the transmission of MRSA.

Denmark is witnessing an explosion of the MRSA epidemic on its pig farms. People are in need of the facts on the risk of infection; which pig farms should one stay away from? We can now get the first answer. The Ministry of Agriculture has for more than two years refused to share its knowledge of the infected pig farms with the Danes. Despite orders from the Danish Ombudsman, the Ministry has still not published its lists of MRSA-infected farms.

However, through a department in the Ministry, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, DVFA (Fødevarestyrelsen in Danish), we have finally managed to obtain a list of 137 pig farms that most probably contain pig-MRSA bacteria. Authorities in Denmark and other countries have for several years pointed at the dangerous connection between the use of antibiotics in livestock production and the development of resistent bacteria. Continue Reading →

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Ministry of Agriculture: OK to farmers’ desire to keep infected pig farms secret- FOI-organisation complains now

After delivery to the slaughterhouse the stable is flushed with high-pressure.

The Danish Ministry of Agriculture now accepts that a writ of summons from the farmers association will once again delay publication of information about the pig farms that house the dangerous MRSA bacteria. The FOI-organisation Aabenhedstinget therefore asks the Ombudsman once again to intervene in this case and overrule the new exposure. “There are no new arguments from the farmers. They have just screwed the boot in and sent a summons. It seems to have an impact on the Ministry, which has deferred their decision. Continue Reading →

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Jutland has a problem: Dangerous pig-bacteria on humans concentrated in municipalities with many pigs

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There is a very clear connection between the number of pigs in a municipality and the number of infected humans with the dangerous pig bacteria, MRSA398. Danish farmers reject the specific risk for humans getting MRSA from pigs. PHOTO: Bæredygtigt Landbrug
The number of infected people with the dangerous pig bacteria is 13 times higher if you are living in a municipality with more than 400,000 pigs, than for people who live in a municipality with few pigs. This conclusion is drawn by Ingeniøren magazine after calculations of the number of pig bacteria in Danish municipalities, which the authorities have revealed to Investigative Reporting Denmark on the basis of a freedom of information request. See the story in Ingeniøren: “Svinefarme i nabolaget mangedobler risiko for smitte med svine MRSA”

Black: More than 30 cases
Red: 20-30 cases
Light Red: 10-19 cases
Grey: Below 10 cases
Humans infected with pig-MRSA in 2012 and 2013 in Danish municipalities. Continue Reading →

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Danish Ombudsman: Names of infected pigfarms must be public

If one pig gets sick, the whole flock gets medicine.

More than two years ago Kjeld Hansen and Nils Mulvad from Aabenhedstinget asked for a list of farms infected with the dangerous pig-bacteria, MRSA398. In a final decision yesterday, the Ombudsman declared, that the authorities have no legal argument for keeping this information secret and it therefore shall be given to the journalists. Aabenhedstinget asked the authorities to deliver the full list in less than ten days, immediately after the decision from the danish Ombudsman was made. Journalist Kjeld Hansen did that on behalf of Aabenhedstinget. In his application to the authorities Kjeld Hansen stressed the delay during several years of getting full information, that the former refusal had let to. Continue Reading →

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Danish journalists sentenced to fine for releasing names of infected farms – they will try to appeal the case

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Two journalists, Kjeld Hansen and Nils Mulvad, released a story in October 2010 about the spread of pig-to-human infection, which subsequently led to four deaths. Lawyer Tyge Trier (left) with the two journalists Nils Mulvad (middle) and Kjeld Hansen (right) in the district court of Aarhus 6 of May. The verdict came 22 of May 2014. Photo: Lone Hougaard. The story from 2010 violated the Data Protection Act, according to the district court in Aarhus. Continue Reading →

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