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ANTI-MICROBIAL
RESISTENCE


source: www.who.int/foodsafety/micro/
general/en/index.html


http://www.ucsusa.org/food
_and_environment/antibiotics
_and_food/


http://www.keepantibioticsworking.com/
new/index.cfm


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anti microbial resistance
Anti-microbial agents are essential drugs for human and animal health and welfare. Anti-microbial resistance is a global public health concern…
  • the increasing occurrence of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) poses a threat to our ability to fight human and animal infections, and has potentially serious public health implications. Effective antibiotics could become fewer in number. This could make treatment more challenging and may increase health care costs;


  • according to a report in the New Scientist, low doses of antibiotics have been given to livestock since the 1950s to make them more productive. As a result, many bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, and concern that this resistance might be passed on to bacteria dangerous to people prompted the European Union to ban the use of most antibiotics as growth promoters in 1999. The remaining four will be phased out in 2006, but Denmark opted for a complete ban in 1998;


  • the Danish Veterinary Institute in Copenhagen looked for trends in the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in around 450,000 meat samples from chickens and 830,000 pig samples taken from 1995 to 2001. Both can cause food poisoning in humans, but are rarely a problem for animals. To the institute’s researchers surprise the ban had no detectable effect on the prevalence of these bacteria. Animal production levels have not been affected;


  • the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of all antibiotics in the USA go into healthy pigs, poultry and cattle to increase animal weight and to minimise disease risks (the term ‘antibiotic’ is used here in the general sense, to include antibiotics and functionally similar compounds);


  • while agricultural use of antibiotics may not be the greatest contributor to antibiotic-resistant infections in people, it is significant. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers animal use of antibiotics, for example, to be the major cause of food-borne illnesses that resist treatment with antibiotics. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for an end to the growth promoting uses of animal antibiotics important to human medicine;


  • the emergence of Salmonella DT104 (a strain of Salmonella resistant to multiple antibiotics, and an important cause of food-borne illness), for example, has been firmly linked to antibiotic use in agriculture. Salmonella causes illnesses that are particularly serious in children, the elderly, and those with impaired immune systems: 500 deaths a year the USA alone;


  • the environmental dimension of antibiotic use in agriculture, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, is also significant: up to 75% of the antibiotics fed to farm animals may pass through the animal, undigested, into the waste. The waste from swine, for example, is typically stored in open-air lagoons (often unlined) and, later, spread on cropland. Waste or runoff may contaminate crops, ground water, surface water and/or drinking water - all of which can result in human exposure;


  • in 1995, a US federal agency estimated that the additional health-care costs from antibiotic resistance to just a single drug exceeded US$1.3 billion annually; the current total cost from resistance to the full range of antibiotics is undoubtedly several-fold higher.
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