Tags: Antibiotic Animals Human Health Resistant

Antibiotic use in Animals Threatens Human Health

By    |   Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 11:56 AM

The growing use of antibiotics in animals is contributing to a rise in drug-resistant microbes that pose a significant threat to human health, according to new research out of Michigan State University.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, adds to the growing weight of evidence that the unchecked used of agricultural antibiotics around the world is paralleling a rise in resistant bacterial agents — effectively reducing antibiotics' ability to fend off diseases in humans and animals.

Researchers found that China — the world's largest producer and consumer of antibiotics — and many other countries don't monitor the powerful medicine's usage or impact on the environment.

"Our research took place in China, but it reflects what's happening in many places around the world," said researcher James Tiedje, an MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics. "The World Organization for Animal Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been advocating for improved regulation of veterinary antibiotic use because those genes don't stay local."

Tiedje, who collaborated on the study with Yong-Guan Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, noted antibiotics in China are weakly regulated, and the country uses four times more antibiotics for veterinary use than in the United States.

Daily exposure to antibiotics, such as those in animal feed, allows microbes carrying antibiotic-resistant genes to thrive and even be transferred to other bacteria that can cause illnesses in humans that are difficult to treat.

Because resistant genes can also be spread through food crops and drinking water, Tiedje said they should be classified as pollutants.

"It is urgent that we protect the effectiveness of our current antibiotics because discovering new ones is extremely difficult," Zhu said. "Multidrug resistance is a global problem and must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, and one area that needs to be addressed is more judicious use and management of wastes that contain ARGs."

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The growing use of antibiotics in farm animals is contributing to a rise in drug-resistant microbes that pose a significant threat to human health.
Antibiotic Animals Human Health Resistant
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Tuesday, 12 Feb 2013 11:56 AM
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