Tara C. Smith, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa, deputy director of the University of Iowa Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, founder of Iowa Citizens for Science, and posts regularly to her science blog, “Aetiology”
Dr. Smith’s pilot study, published January 23, 2009, found MRSA ST398 in 49% of the swine tested and 45% of the swine workers tested. Although the sample was small, other studies have found similar or higher amounts in the Netherlands and Canada. These results show that colonization of swine by MRSA was very common in one of two swine production systems in the Midwestern U.S. Dr. Smith concluded that MRSA strain ST398 could become an important reservoir for this bacterium.
Although the research is ongoing, we don’t know at this point if the swine in Mexico were also contaminated with MRSA ST398.
I think this is a possible hypothesis: Swine flu virus enters the lungs and allows MRSA ST398 to multiply and give off toxins resulting in death. This is not a case of one, but two microbes working together to cause death in the Mexican workers.
I invite your evidence based comments on my hypothesis.