Doctors have become increasingly concerned by the problem of “super-bugs”—bacteria that have become resistant to standard antibiotics. It is well known that a high rate of antibiotic prescribing in hospitals contributes to the emergence of drug resistant bacteria. But for some antibiotics, an even more important factor contributing to such emergence, argues a team of researchers in the open access international medical journal PLoS Medicine, is the use of antibiotics in agriculture.
“Evidence suggests that antibiotic use in agriculture has contributed to antibiotic resistance in the pathogenic bacteria of humans,” say David Smith of the Fogarty International Center, Jonathan Dushoff of Princeton University and the Fogarty International Center, and J.Glenn Morris Jr. of the University of Maryland.
Antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria are found in the air and soil around farms, in surface and ground water, in wild animal populations, and on retail meat and poultry. These resistant bacteria are carried into the kitchen on contaminated meat and poultry where other foods are cross-contaminated because of common, unsafe handling practices. Following ingestion, bacteria occasionally survive the formidable but imperfect gastric barrier to colonize the gut—which in turn may transmit the resistant bacteria to humans.
Paul Ocampo | alfa
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