Practices at farms in HK and mainland may have created new drug-resistant strain of deadly bug

By Emily Tsang
South China Morning Post
Monday, 29 July, 2013

A rare superbug detected in a slaughterhouse in Sheung Shui has never before been found among livestock in Hong Kong or Asia, a University of Hong Kong study has confirmed.

The microbiologist who led the study told the South China Morning Post it had raised concerns that pig farmers in Hong Kong or on the mainland were misusing antibiotics to treat their animals, leading to the development of such drug-resistant superbugs.

“It indicates that there may have been widespread use by some farmers of antibiotics to keep their pigs healthy,” Ho Pak-leung said. “This is one explanation as to why

[the Sheung Shui] pork contains the drug-resistant bug.”

Humans can catch the superbug through eating uncooked pork or coming into contact with infected livestock, Ho said.

But the risk of Hongkongers becoming infected remains low – as long as they only consume pork that has been thoroughly cooked, he said.

The superbug, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium(VRE), was detected in one of 137 batches of pork samples collected in January at a slaughterhouse in Sheung Shui.

Read the full story at: