A rare and frightening superbug gene has been found by researchers on a pig farm in the US. The researchers have claimed that the discovery of this gene sends a clear sign that raw meat has the potential to carry the dangerous germs into the human population.
According to researchers, the mutant gene was not found in any pig scheduled for slaughter. The researchers also stressed that they haven't found any threat to people yet. None of the pigs were sick too.
"It is an extremely rare gene. How it got on this farm, we don't know," said Thomas Wittum, chair of the veterinary medicine team at The Ohio State University, who led the study team.
The gene is called bla IMP-27 and this gene has got the potential to give bacteria the ability to resist the effects of a class of antibiotics called carbapenems.
Carbapenems are seen as an antibiotic of last resort, which means the germs that resist their effects cannot be killed easily.
The researchers led by Wittum checked samples submitted to testing labs from pigs suspected of carrying bad infections. They also checked some samples sent from farms. Wittum said the bla IMP-27 gene turned up in a single farm sample. He then asked his team members to test the farm using swabs and swiffers.
The swiffers are just like the household cleaning tool, Wittum said. "They're electrostatic, so they are good for taking samples," he told NBC News.
"I stayed here in my office and did important supervisory and coordination work while the grad students went out and collected poop samples," he added.