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MRSA Link to Pigs

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From News:

People living near pig farms or agricultural fields fertilized with pig manure are more likely to become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, according to a paper published today in JAMA Internal Medicine1.

Previous research has found that livestock workers are at high risk of carrying MRSA, compared to the general population2. But it has been unclear whether the spreading of MRSA through livestock puts the public at risk of infection.

The study examined the incidence of infections in Pennsylvania, where manure from pig farms is often spread on crop fields to comply with state regulations for manure disposal. Researchers reviewed electronic health-care records from patients who sought care from the Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System (which helped to fund the study) in 2005–10.

The team analysed cases of two different types of MRSA — community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA), which affected 1,539 patients, and health-care-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA), which affected 1,335 patients. (The two categories refer to where patients acquire the infection as well as the bacteria’s genetic lineages, but the distinction has grown fuzzier as more patients bring MRSA in and out of the hospital.)

Then the researchers examined whether infected people lived near pig farms or agricultural land where pig manure was spread. They found that people who had the highest exposure to manure — calculated on the basis of how close they lived to farms, how large the farms were and how much manure was used — were 38% more likely to get CA-MRSA and 30% more likely to get HA-MRSA.

The researchers also analysed 200 skin, blood, and sputum samples isolated from patients in the same health-care system in 2012. The MRSA strains found in those samples are commonly found in humans. Researchers did not find any evidence of bacteria belonging to clonal complex 398 (CC398), a MRSA strain classically associated with livestock and found in farms and farmworkers in many previous studies.

However, there is little information about which MRSA strains are most common on US farms, so the absence of CC398 is not a sign that MRSA is not being transmitted from livestock to humans. “We’ve done studies in Iowa, we haven’t always found CC398. That’s not too shocking,” says Tara Smith, a microbiologist at Kent State University in Ohio, who was not involved in the study.

Many researchers think that widespread use of antibiotics to encourage growth in farm animals fuels the proliferation of MRSA and other drug-resistant bacteria. The latest findings suggest that manure is helping antibiotic resistance to spread, says Joan Casey, an environmental-health scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and a co-author of the study.

“We’ve certainly described a connection we think is plausible,” she says. “We haven’t described every step in the path.”

“It’s a pretty interesting and provocative observation,” says Robert Daum, a paediatrician and the principal investigator of the MRSA Research Center at the University of Chicago in Illinois. He adds that he would like to see similar studies done in different geographic regions, and research to find out whether the MRSA strains carried in pig manure are the same as the MRSA strains found in nearby human infections.

Casey is at work on a follow-up genetics study to identify the most common MRSA strains in the region.

Nature doi:10.1038/nature.2013.13752

Casey, J. A., Curriero, F. C., Cosgrove S. E., Nachman, K. E. & Schwartz, B. S. JAMA Intern. Med. (2013).
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Smith, T. C. et al. PLoS ONE 8, e63704 (2013).

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Statistics, Technical Issue, Work Related Issues | , | Leave a comment

My Travel Must-Have

I don’t like large handbags. I am small; a large bag is disproportionate. At the same time, I wanted a bag big enough to stick my computer in without looking like a briefcase. I wanted to be able to take my computer to Alaska with me.

I looked and looked, searching for the right bag. I looked in Pensacola, I looked online, I looked in Seattle. It had to be the right size, a nice heavy leather, a sturdy leather carry strap, and a neutral color as I was only taking one bag. Finally, at the very last minute I found this wonderful bag, and the computer fit beautifully, leaving room for my camera and wallet – what more do I need, right?


Then, me being me, the night before leaving for Alaska I decided I really did not need to carry a full sized computer, that the iPad had enough capacity and besides, it had books and Sudoku on it. But I still liked the purse; I stuck a nightshirt inside in case my luggage got lost, it has a side zip pocket for tickets, car rental brochures and car keys, and with everything inside, it was still roomy and not too heavy. It is wonderful boarding airplanes with just a purse!

By the end of the trip, I was in love. It is a great bag, goes everywhere, can be filled or used with little, it is versatile. I love this bag!

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Alaska, Living Conditions, Road Trips, Shopping, Survival, Technical Issue, Tools, Travel | 2 Comments

Get Ready For the Harvest Moon


From Weather Underground News where you can read the entire article by clicking on the blue type:

Get ready for the Harvest Moon. Depending on where you live on the planet, it’s either Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

“In traditional skylore, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox,” EarthSky reports, “and depending on the year, [it] can come anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the autumnal equinox.” For 2013, that changing of the seasons happens on September 22 — just a few days from now.

Unlike the Blue Moon we covered back in August, the Harvest Moon behaves differently than a typical full moon. “Throughout the year, the moon rises, on average, about 50 minutes later each day,” according to NASA Science News. “But near the autumnal equinox … the day-to-day difference in the local time of moonrise is only 30 minutes.” Why does that matter? Simply put, agriculture.

“In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset,” wrote NASA’s Dr. Tony Phillips. “It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market. The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox became the Harvest Moon, and it was always a welcome sight.”

So my question is this – the Harvest Moon is what we call it, because it gave farmers extra time to bring in the harvest. What do other cultures call it?

September 17, 2013 Posted by | Cultural, Education, Statistics, Technical Issue, Weather | Leave a comment