HealthDay News — Workers at hog production facilities in the United States are developing skin infections from multidrug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to a study published online November 16 in PLOS ONE.
This study included 103 hog facility workers in North Carolina and 80 child and adult members of their households. Nasal swabs revealed that 44% of the workers and 39% of their household members had S. aureus bacteria in their noses.
Nearly half the S. aureus strains in the workers and nearly one-third of those in household members were multidrug-resistant. Also, 6% workers and 11% of children who lived with them had a recent skin and soft tissue infection, according to the study. Workers with livestock-associated S. aureus in their noses were five times more likely to have had a recent skin or soft tissue infection than those without the bacteria in their noses.
Although the study didn’t prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, the researchers said the association was strongest among workers who had multidrug-resistant S. aureus in their noses. These workers were nearly nine times more likely to have had a recent skin or soft tissue infection. Noting that hog workers who never wore protective masks over their nose and mouth were more likely to carry the bacteria than those who did, the authors suggest that guidelines about wearing protective equipment may be warranted.