The practice of administering large quantities of antimicrobial drugs “favors the emergence of drug resistant bacteria that can spread to humans through the consumption of contaminated food, from direct contact with animals or by environmental spread,” said Awa Aidara-Kane of the World Health Organization.
“In addition, genes encoding for resistance can be transmitted from zoonotic bacteria to human pathogens,” added Aidara-Kane, who leads the WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance.
In order to reduce the risk of the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria via the consumption of animal food products, the WHO suggests restricting and even eliminating the use of antibiotics to boost animal growth.
The world health body recommends limiting administering to animals the types of antibiotics considered essential to human health, such as fluoroquinolones and the most recent generations of cephalosporins.
“We are seeing a significant increase in resistance to third and fourth generation cephalosporins in Salmonella Heidelberg infections in humans,” noted Beth Karp, a senior veterinary epidemiologist with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nontyphoidal Salmonella is the main cause of food poisoning in the United States and affects about 1.2 million people each year, including 23,000 who are hospitalized and 450 who are killed, according to the CDC.
J. Glenn Songer, a research professor at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, noted certain strains of the Clostridium Difficile bacteria that cause diseases in farm animals such as young pigs play a growing role in human infection.
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Category: Health/ Food/ Diet
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