Is There a Correlation Between MRSA & Antibiotic Use in Animals?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a serious threat to human health. While the majority of MRSA clinical infections in humans are due to human (versus livestock) strains, some people are unfairly linking the prevalence of MRSA in humans to antibiotic use in livestock. To date, no clinical case of MRSA in a human related to livestock has been identified in the United States.

  • To clarify, antibiotic-resistant bacteria can be foodborne or non-foodborne. Non-food strains began emerging decades ago in hospital settings and are not linked to animals in our food system. These are the vast majority of the cases that are so hard to treat and are making people sick.
  • There are occasional cases of antibiotic-resistant, foodborne bacteria such as antibiotic- resistant salmonella. Salmonella is killed when food is cooked and handled properly. People becoming sick from antibiotic-resistant foodborne bacteria and not being able to be treated in some manner, is extremely rare if not almost non-existent.