Drug-Resistant Bacteria Hang Out in Hog Workers




This is Scientific American 60-Second Health. I'm Dina Fine Maron. Got a minute?
Careful what you sniff.
Especially if you work at an industrial hog farm.
Because a small study finds that drug-resistant bacteria may hang out in the noses of some workers even after four days away from work following exposure.
Almost half of the tested workers continued to harbor drug-resistant bacteria two weeks after their initial exposure, perhaps due to re-exposures on the job.
The unwelcome stowaways include so-called "superbug" MRSA, as well as other bacteria associated with an increased risk of staph infections.
The research is in the journal Occupational Environmental Medicine.
At industrial-sized farms antibiotics are often overused to promote animal growth to get them to market sooner.
Drug-resistant strains of bacteria quickly evolve.
This investigation involves 22 hog farm workers in North Carolina.
It's the first study to find that bacteria hitches a ride in employees' nasal passages and can linger there for days.
The longer the stay, the more opportunities for the bacteria to jump to workers¡¯ families and social networks.
However, this study did not determine whether the nostril-dwelling bacteria causes harm in these people.
Nevertheless, carrying around drug-resistant bacteria in the warm, moist nasal environment is nothing to sneeze at.
Thanks for the minute, for Scientific American 60-Second Health. I'm Dina Fine Maron.