Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Antibiotic Resistance - Tracing Germs Through the Aisles

A long piece in the New York Times on human urinary tract infections and the work taking place by Lance Price in Arizona to track the pathogens back to specific meats on the supermarket shelves.

Everything seems to point to a close connection with antibiotic use in farming, genetic sequencing is expected to provide the final proof: a real "Cold Case" situation.

Then, if not before, Defra's many cover-ups, in Britain, will have to be properly investigated.

Full New York Times report here

Tracing Germs Through the Aisles

Published: July 29, 2013

...There is broad consensus that overuse of antibiotics has caused growing resistance to the medicines. Many scientists say evidence is mounting that heavy use of antibiotics to promote faster growth in farm animals is a major culprit, creating a reservoir of drug resistant bugs that are finding their way into communities. More than 70 percent of all the antibiotics used in the United States are given to animals.

Agribusiness groups disagree and say the main problem is overuse of antibiotic treatments for people. Bugs rarely migrate from animals to people, and even when they do, the risk they pose to human health is negligible, the industry contends.

Scientists say genetic sequencing will bring greater certainty to the debate. They will be able to trace germs in people to their origins, be it from a farm animal or other patients in a hospital. Representative Louise Slaughter, a Democrat from New York who has pushed for legislation to control antibiotic use on farms, said such evidence would be the “smoking gun” that would settle the issue...