Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Agricultural Antibiotic Use Contributes To 'Super-bugs' In Humans

Date:
July 5, 2005
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A paper published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine discusses evidence suggesting that antibiotic use in agriculture has contributed to antibiotic resistance in the pathogenic bacteria in humans.

Doctors have become increasingly concerned by the problem of "super-bugs" - bacteria that have become resistant to standard antibiotics. It is well known that a high rate of antibiotic prescribing in hospitals contributes to the emergence of drug resistant bacteria. But for some antibiotics, an even more important factor contributing to such emergence, argues a team of researchers in the open access international medical journal PLoS Medicine, is the use of antibiotics in agriculture.

"Evidence suggests that antibiotic use in agriculture has contributed to antibiotic resistance in the pathogenic bacteria of humans," say David Smith of the Fogarty International Center, Jonathan Dushoff of Princeton University and the Fogarty International Center, and J.Glenn Morris Jr. of the University of Maryland.

Antibiotics and antibiotic resistant bacteria are found in the air and soil around farms, in surface and ground water, in wild animal populations, and on retail meat and poultry. These resistant bacteria are carried into the kitchen on contaminated meat and poultry where other foods are cross-contaminated because of common, unsafe handling practices. Following ingestion, bacteria occasionally survive the formidable but imperfect gastric barrier to colonize the gut - which in turn may transmit the resistant bacteria to humans.

Smith and colleagues say that the transmission of antibiotic resistant bacteria from animal to human populations is difficult to measure, as it is "the product of a very high exposure rate to potentially contaminated food, and a very low probability of transmission at a given meal." Nevertheless, based on the analysis presented in PLoS Medicine, the authors suggest that "transmission from agriculture can have a greater impact on human populations than hospital transmission."

After first Denmark and then the European Union banned the use of antibiotics for growth promotion, say the authors, the prevalence of resistant bacteria declined in farm animals, retail meat and poultry, and within the human general population. This provides evidence that antibiotic resistant bacteria can move between animals and humans.

The exact effects of agricultural antibiotic use on human health remain uncertain, they say, despite extensive investigation. "But the effects may be unknowable, unprovable, or immeasurable by the empirical standards of experimental biology." Given all of this uncertainty, Smith and colleagues suggest that adopting a "precautionary approach" - such as the European Union ban - would be suitable.

###

Citation: Smith DL, Dushoff J, Morris G Jr (2005) Agricultural antibiotics and human health. PLoS Med 2(8): e232.

About PLoS Medicine

PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Agricultural Antibiotic Use Contributes To 'Super-bugs' In Humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050705010900.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2005, July 5). Agricultural Antibiotic Use Contributes To 'Super-bugs' In Humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050705010900.htm
Public Library of Science. "Agricultural Antibiotic Use Contributes To 'Super-bugs' In Humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050705010900.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins