antibiotic

Antibiotic-resistant superbugs started on animal farms

Friday, March 16, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: superbugs, animal farms, food safety

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(NaturalNews) The growing emergence and prevalence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs capable of killing humans was not always the gravely serious problem it is today, as some of these deadly strains actually originated as benign pathogens in humans. But the widespread practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock living on factory farms is at least one of the primary triggers that has caused these once-harmless bacterial strains to become vicious killers.

A recent study published in the American Society for Microbiology journal mBio explains how the infamous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) superbug strain CC398, for instance, appears to have actually originated as a type of harmless probiotic in the body known as methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). According to Lance Price and his colleagues, MSSA morphed into deadly MRSA as a result of migration into livestock being fed excessive amounts of antibiotics.

"Modern food animal production is characterized by densely concentrated animals and routine antibiotic use, which may facilitate the emergence of novel antibiotic-resistant zoonotic pathogens," write the authors in their paper. "Our findings strongly support the idea that livestock-associated MRSA CC398 originated as MSSA in humans" (http://mbio.asm.org/content/3/1/e00305-11).

Factory farmers commonly feed antibiotics like tetracycline and methicillin to their livestock, poultry, and even fish, in order to make them grow faster. These drugs also help mitigate the filth-induced disease that is part and parcel of the factory food system, which confines animals in unsanitary living conditions and summons them to unnatural diets that cause them to develop frequent infections (http://www.naturalnews.com/028031_antibiotics_infections.html).

Various environmental and public health groups have repeatedly tried to convince the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to properly regulate the use of antibiotics in animal feed, but the agency has continually refused. Even after a lawsuit was filed against it last summer, the FDA quietly reversed a previous promise to begin regulating antibiotics, and conveniently published an announcement about this right during the Christmas season when few were paying attention (http://www.guardian.co.uk).

In January, however, the FDA did finally decide to protect some antibiotics from becoming useless by prohibiting their use in livestock, but these particular drugs represent a measly 0.2% of those typically used on factory farms anyway, according to New Scientists. So as it stands, superbug-producing factory farms are free to continue churning out deadly pathogens while the FDA pretends that everything is just fine.

Sources for this article include:

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/02/superbug-bred-farms

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