Friday, July 24, 2009

MRSA & Antibiotics: Obama & Farmers


About 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the United States are given to healthy farm animals.

That is scary!

The Obama administration is at last taking on the ever powerful farming industry-good luck!

The New York Times leader today:

Farms and Antibiotics

July 24, 2009 New York Times
"The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70 percent of the antibiotics used in this country are fed to farm animals. These animals do not receive these drugs the way humans do — as discrete short-term doses. Agricultural antibiotics are a regular feed supplement intended to increase growth and lessen the chance of infection in crowded, industrial farms.

"These practices are putting both humans and animals increasingly at risk. In an environment where antibiotics are omnipresent, as they are in industrial agriculture, antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases quickly develop, reducing the effectiveness of common drugs like penicillin and tetracycline.

"Despite that danger, the Food and Drug Administration had been reluctant to restrict routine agricultural use of antibiotics. The F.D.A.’s principal deputy commissioner, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, signaled a welcome change in direction recently, testifying on behalf of a new bill, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. It would allow veterinarians to prescribe antibiotics to treat individual animals or prevent disease, but it would sharply restrict the routine feeding of antibiotics to farm animals — the practice most closely associated with the development of drug-resistant pathogens.

"The legislation is drawing strong opposition from the farm lobby since the restrictions would make it much harder for industrial farms to crowd thousands of animals together in confined, inhumane and unhealthy quarters. But the current practice is dangerously self-defeating: treating more and more animals with less and less effective drugs and in turn creating resistant strains of disease that persist in the soil and water. Congress should stop this now before an entire class of drugs becomes useless."

"Some veterinarians' profit margins are bigger than those of cocaine dealers," says Nicki Schirm, who has been a veterinarian in the state of Hesse for more than 25 years. When a veterinarian finds a sick chick among 20,000 other chicks, he treats the discovery as justification to preventively treat the entire flock with antibiotics, says Rupert Ebner, a veterinarian from the Bavarian city of Ingolstadt. "Nowadays, flock or herd health monitoring is the code name for the generous administration of drugs," says Ebner. In many cases, he adds, fake diagnoses are used to provide a justification for the use of antibiotics.

In large veterinary practices, profits from the sale of drugs can account for up to 80 percent of revenues. This is mainly due to the volume discounts offered by the pharmaceutical industry and the sweet privilege known as the right to dispense -- a special provision for the pharmaceutical monopoly. For more than 150 years, veterinarians have been allowed to both prescribe and sell medications -- with almost no supervision whatsoever.

Some 900 tons of antibiotics were fed to animals in Germany in 2010. This is 116 tons more than in 2005, and more than three times as much as the entire German population takes annually. Pharmaceutical producers were required to report their 2011 sales of veterinary drugs by the end of March. A number of companies did not comply, prompting the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety to request the information in writing.

Dr Margaret Mellon of The Union of Concerned Scientists testified before the House Rules Committee in a hearing on H.R. 1549, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA).

Scientific America

A New Strain of Drug-Resistant Staph Infection Found in U.S. Pigs

January 23, 2009 By Maryn McKenna
A strain of drug-resistant staph identified in pigs in the Netherlands five years ago, which accounts for nearly one third of all staph in humans there, has been found in the U.S. for the first time, according to a new study.
“Seventy percent of 209 pigs and nine of 14 workers on seven linked farms in Iowa and Illinois were found to be carrying the ST398 strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
……..“The strain has spread so rapidly since then that it now accounts for 30 percent of the staph isolates now sent to the Netherlands's national laboratory, compared with 1 percent in 2000, and has started to spread within hospitals. The risk of acquiring ST398 is highest among pig farmers, says Jan Kluytmans, a professor of microbiology and infection control at the Vrije University Amsterdam, who found that 32 percent of patients in one hospital in a pig-farming community were exposed to livestock that carry the bug.”

Related: New York Times

Hospital Infection: Quorum Sensing

Mercury in High Fructose Corn Syrup ---Autism: What If!

No comments: