The antibiotic-resistant staph has been identified in humans and fresh, unpasteurized cow's milk.
A new strain of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) has been detected in cows' milk in the United Kingdom and Denmark, several news services reported today
According to U.S. News and World Report
, Dr. Mark A. Holmes, of the department of veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge in England, and his colleagues warned that this new variant, which is genetically different than existing MRSA strains, could go undetected by typical testing techniques.
Although the pasteurization of milk would prevent any risk of infection through the food chain, the investigators noted that more research is needed to determine if people who come into close contact with cattle are at greater risk because the study also found indirect evidence that cows could be an important source of this new strain of MRSA infection in humans.
The researchers also warned that the new strain of MRSA could be wrongly diagnosed as methicillin-susceptible, leading to prescriptions for the wrong antibiotics.