Because Staph infections, specifically MRSA, are increasing in number in different animal populations, it is ever more important that animal handlers learn how this superbug can be transmitted, so they can learn how to protect themselves and their animals, Hoet said. His Farm Science Review conversation will focus on learning about zoonotic diseases, and also how to minimize the risk of transmission from animals to humans by applying common-sense practices that can effectively protect the individuals handling animals and their families.
“The take-home message will be to learn personal hygiene and good practices at the farm level when working with animals,” Hoet said. “This way people will be able to significantly decrease the risk of acquiring MRSA infections.”
People mainly get MRSA from animals through direct contact with an infected animal.
“There has to be a major breakdown in the personal hygiene of the individuals who are being exposed for them to acquire a MRSA infection, which is why we will emphasize a lot during our presentation about the regular application of good personal hygiene practices during your interaction with animals,” he said.
Pigs are frequently colonized with Staph strains. Therefore, hog farm workers must be very cautious in regards to personal hygiene and personal biosecurity, Hoet said. Turkeys and some exotic birds have been reported to carry MRSA in their skin. And, horses have been reported to have a unique strain of MRSA.
“In any case, you always have to be aware of your personal hygiene when working with animals, so you can minimize the risk of zoonotic transmission of infectious diseases,” he said.
Farm Science Review is sponsored by Ohio State'sCollege of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Pre-show tickets are $5 at all OSU Extension county offices. Tickets are also available at local agribusinesses. Tickets are $8 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 18-19 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20.