Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Household bugs: A risk to human health?

Date:
January 27, 2011
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Superbugs are not just a problem in hospitals but could be also coming from our animal farms. New research indicates insects could be responsible for spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria from pigs to humans.

Superbugs are not just a problem in hospitals but could be also coming from our animal farms.
Credit: iStockphoto

Superbugs are not just a problem in hospitals but could be also coming from our animal farms. Research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Microbiology indicates insects could be responsible for spreading antibiotic resistant bacteria from pigs to humans.

Related Articles


Ludek Zurek and collaborators from Kansas and North Carolina State Universities isolated bacteria from farm pig feces and compared them to the bacteria present in the intestines of the house flies and German cockroaches caught on those farms. They subjected the bacteria to a range of different antibiotic resistance testing and genetic analysis and discovered that not only were the same types of bacteria carried in the intestines of all the insects and pigs, but also that there was a high prevalence of antibiotic resistance. In particular, the common gut bacteria Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium were found to be frequently resistant to tetracycline, erythromycin, streptomycin, and kanamycin -- common antibiotics used to treat human infections.

Dr. Ludek Zurek explains that the significance of these findings could be very important for public health. He said, "In the USA, antibiotics are widely used in pig farming as growth promoters; they cause the pigs to gain weight faster. As a result, the digestive tract bacteria in pigs are often exposed to selective pressure and many become resistant to antibiotics. Consequently, there's a risk that these bacteria might be transferred -- by common livestock and urban pests such as house flies and cockroaches from pig farms to humans." "Moreover, since we found such a good match between enterococci from pig feces and insects, it is possible that flies and cockroaches carry other microbes originating from swine feces with even greater public health importance and may transport them to the surrounding urban environment."

While there is thought to be no risk to humans from eating properly cooked pork meat, the widespread use of antibiotics in confined swine production is likely to only increase the selection and evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. While farm pigs continue to share their homes with insects, the risk of these resistant strains being transferred to humans via cockroaches and flies is an ever-present possibility. Effective management strategies aimed at reducing insect pest populations should be an important component of pre-harvest food safety efforts on animal farms.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Aqeel Ahmad, Anuradha Ghosh, Coby Schal and Ludek Zurek. Insects in confined swine operations carry a large antibiotic resistant and potentially virulent enterococcal community. BMC Microbiology, (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Household bugs: A risk to human health?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126081706.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2011, January 27). Household bugs: A risk to human health?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126081706.htm
BioMed Central. "Household bugs: A risk to human health?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110126081706.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) The capture of deadly Japanese pufferfish in the waters of Crimea is causing concern for fishermen and scientists alike. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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