The first case of Livestock Associated MRSA has been identified in Northern Ireland in a piglet.

According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in Northern Ireland, the case was identified in a piglet some weeks ago. The piglet was six to eight weeks old.

While the case poses no risk to the general public and is different from the MRSA strain that can be found in healthcare, LA-MRSA does present a low occupational risk for those working in close contact with infected livestock but is not a notifiable disease.

Meat from LA-MRSA affected animals is perfectly safe to eat provided normal good hygiene and thorough cooking practices are observed. DARD is liaising with the Public Health Agency and is providing advice and assistance to those on the farm in question.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Pig Veterinary Society (PVS) said the cast is still being investigated and said it would be wrong to read too much into a single, isolated case.

It also said that the LA-MRSA found in the pig in Northern Ireland is genetically different from the MRSA strains causing healthcare-associated human infections and it does not spread so readily between humans.