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CDC: Animals fed antibiotics are creating super bugs that claim human lives

From Green Right Now Reports Health experts have long pointed to the livestock industry as a major culprit in the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Now the Centers for Disease...

From Green Right Now Reports
Health experts have long pointed to the livestock industry as a major culprit in the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria.Antibiotic Resistance Threats art from CDC.pptx

Now the Centers for Disease Control has clearly tagged animal producers as one source of this major public health issue. Antibiotic resistance can be blamed for claiming 23,000 American lives and complicating the treatment of the 2 million Americans who become infected with antibiotic resistant bacteria, according to the CDC’s report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013.

The CDC investigators also identified physicians over prescribing antibiotics for humans as another way that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are unleashed on the world.  But they were clear that dangerous bacteria also originates where pigs, cattle and poultry are raised. The bacteria spreads into the general environment and some is carried on contaminated meat. (Click on chart below to see larger.)

Antibiotic Resistance, how it happens

CDC graphic shows how animal operations contribute to antibiotic resistance. (Click to see larger.)

There are few easy answers to this problem. The report suggests that people take care not to contract bacterial illnesses — by washing their hands and their food — that doctors hold off when antibiotics aren’t necessary and that livestock producers quit using antibiotics preventatively or as growth enhancers.

“Perhaps the single most important action needed to greatly slow down the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant infections is to change the way antibiotics are used. Up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe,” the report concluded.

The report detailed several bacteria and their antibiotic profile, but offered few specifics about how to stop the flow of antibiotics in the agricultural system. The CDC doesn’t have the authority to do much more than inform. Control of antibiotics rests with he Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture.


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