Agriculture, forestry and fishing Workplace exposures

Pig farmers more likely to carry staph bacteria: study

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Iowa City, IA – Swine farmers are 6 times more likely to carry multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, putting them at higher risk for skin and soft tissue infections, according to a study from the University of Iowa.

Researchers tracked more than 1,300 Iowa residents, including farmers who have contact with livestock. They collected nose and throat swabs for 17 months and examined participants with skin infections to see if they carried the bacteria S. aureus.

According to a university press release, results showed 26 percent of participants carried S. aureus. Researchers found that farmers exposed to livestock, particularly swine, were much more likely to carry multidrug-resistant S. aureus, tetracycline-resistant S. aureus and livestock-associated S. aureus than participants who were not exposed to livestock.

The study was published online April 29 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.