In Denmark, one third of pigs are affected by MRSA, but other animals can also be infected by the methicillin-resistant staphylococcus. MRSA is thus not something found only in humans and pigs.
German experts believe that a number of other animals should also be investigated; these include dogs, horses, sheep, cows and cats.
Children and young people often go to riding schools. Does the Commission have an overview of how many horses in the individual EU countries have MRSA for example? Dogs in private homes must also be presumed to present an increased risk for children and young people.
What will the Commission do to investigate and clarify how the infection is transmitted between animals and people?
Is the Commission clear about the dangers of MRSA?
In 2009 the EU agencies published a Joint scientific report on MRSA1 and an Assessment of the Public Health significance of MRSA in animals/food2 including control options to minimize the risk of transfer. The assessments conclude that the primary reservoirs of MRSA are pigs, veal calves, and broilers and that the most important routes of transmission of MRSA to humans are through direct contact with live animals and their environments. People in contact with live animals (especially farmers and veterinarians, and their families) are at greater risk of colonisation and infection than the general population. The strains causing infections in companion animals are the same as those commonly occurring in hospitals in the same geographical region. Humans are likely to spread MRSA to companion animals, and these can then be a reservoir for humans both in the community and in health care facilities.
Conclusions of the assessment states that the most effective measures to minimize the risk of transfer from companion animals and horses to humans is the implementation of basic hygiene measures especially hand washing before and after contact with animals and avoiding direct contact with nasal secretions, saliva and wounds. The Commission refers to its answers to previous written question P-006635/2014.