Animals Can Harbor MRSA

Following a Lancet Infectious Diseases report of the spread of a new drug-resistant superbug spreading from south Asia, news agencies have reported “panic” over the germs’ possible consequences. Writing in the Guardian, for example, editor and columnist Sarah Boseley said:

“The era of antibiotics is coming to a close. In just a couple of generations, what once appeared to be miracle medicines have been beaten into ineffectiveness by the bacteria they were designed to knock out.”

The effectiveness of antibiotics depends on how antibiotics are used — how well drug use is managed in clinical practice and outside of it. But some 70 percent of American antibiotics — tens of millions of pounds of drugs each year — is used in animal feed.

The antibiotic-resistant staph strain that kills 19,000 Americans every year.

According to Time Magazine:

“The European Union banned routine use of antibiotics in animal feed years ago because of evidence about its drug-resistance consequences for humans. Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is recommending the same for the U.S. as well, for the same reason. But for now the practice continues.”

According to Grist:
“MRSA has a major food angle: Today, as much as 70 percent of antibiotics consumed in the United States go into concentrated-animal feedlot operations, or CAFOs, and these vast, factory-scale animal farms have been shown to harbor a novel MRSA strain.”

Sources:

Grist June 15, 2010

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