Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the widespread practice of giving antibiotics to healthy livestock to promote growth and prevent disease is making the drugs ineffective when they are needed to treat infections in people.
According to Dr. Theoklis Zaoutis of the University of Pennsylvania, “The antibiotics that are fed to the animals lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria in the animal and these bacteria can then be spread to other animals, the environment and to humans.”
Most infections occur as a result of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the food supply, direct contact with animals, and exposure in the environment. Incidence was highest among children under age five.
Consuming organic foods from animals produced without the routine use of antibiotics is an important step in reducing personal risk, as is thorough cooking of foods; but does not guarantee that there will not be resistant bacteria present.
The long-term solution to antibiotic resistance may require changes in the way we produce animals for food, including stopping the use of antibiotics and other drugs in healthy animals and also implementing better drug-free hygiene and management practices to curb disease risk on farms.
More than two million Americans become ill with antibiotic-resistant infections each year, and 23,000 die as a result. Cost to the U.S. healthcare system runs from $21 billion to $34 billion annually.
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