'Hosptal superbug' MRSA spreads to animals

MRSA found on twelve animals

source: Jo Revill
Observer December 14 2003 p1

Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria which kills around 5,000 people a year. Around a third of people carry the bacteria, and do not show ill-effects, but newborn children, elderly people, and those who have just been operated on can be affected, as can people whose immune systems are not working properly. The bacteria has been found on 12 animals, which has led to concerns that humans could become infected from pets. The findings came at the Health Protection Centre, London, England, which looked at samples from a rabbit, cats and dogs. The pets came from across the UK, so the bacteria is not localised. Cases have also been found of animals carrying the bacteria in the US. The reason for the spread of the bacteria may be the over-usage of a strong anti-biotic called quinoline. The British Veterinary Association has stressed that pet owners should wash their hands on a regular basis, and should not be panicked into giving up their pets.