Antibiotics used to promote growth in farm animals is rampant and is causing antibacterial-resistant “super bugs” to reach epidemic proportions. According to federal statistics cited in the new report, published today (Nov. 16) in the journal Pediatrics, more than 2 million Americans get sick with antimicrobial-resistant infections each year, and more than 23,000 die as a result of these infections.
Antibiotic abuse from agribusiness is responsible for using more than 20 million pounds of antibiotics in healthy livestock each year which amounts to more than 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States! This is a major reason why superbugs are showing up in kids and adults across the US.
Why should you be concerned? When people come in contact with these superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics and become infected, it is extremely hard to treat them resulting in prolonged illness and potential death. Using antibiotics in animals that are used to treat human bacterial infections causes those antibiotics to loose effectiveness.
Read more here.
Here are 6 superbugs that are on the rise:
- Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria that can infect the lungs and lead to pneumonia. This bacteria can also infect wounds or surgical sites, or spread through the body via blood infections.
- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) which stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a strain of bacteria that’s resistant to the antibiotics used to treat typical staph infections.
- Clostridium difficile bacteria (C-Diff) are found in the intestines. Healthy people who have enough “good” bacteria in their intestines may not get sick from a C. diff infection. But for people with weak immune systems, the germ can cause a number of symptoms, such as diarrhea or life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
- Drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB) is rare type of tuberculosis that is resistant to a number of antibiotic drugs. This resistance leaves fewer treatment options available, which can increase the risk of death.
- Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a sexually transmitted bacteria that have developed a resistance to antibiotics such as sulfonilamides, penicillin, tetracycline and ciprofloxacin, which are commonly prescribed to treat gonorrhea infections.
- Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, also known as STEC, which live in the guts of animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, deer and elk. Humans can become infected by eating contaminated food, drinking raw milk or contaminated water, coming in contact with cattle or with the feces of infected people.
SLN’s Take Home Message
Pumping up animals with antibiotics to make them bigger is causing extremely virulent bacteria that are affecting people of all ages. Treatment of patients infected with these superbugs becomes harder and new medicines are now needed. To prevent your family from these superbugs make sure you buy meat and dairy products that DO NOT USE ANTIBIOTICS or buy organic. Wash your hands well after touching farm animals!