Saturday, 10 August 2013

Antibiotic Use in Chickens: Responsible for Hundreds of Human Deaths?


A helpful piece from Maryn McKenna teasing out the big questions and drawing the battle lines over antibiotic use in chickens and the responsibility for multiple human deaths.

Despite the relative scarcity of data, something to be deplored, she draws together the latest papers.

Is there a link?

Will the problem go away with restrictions on antibiotic use?

The arguments are here.

Antibiotic Use in Chickens: Responsible for Hundreds of Human Deaths?

In the long back and forth between science and agriculture over the source of antibiotic resistance in humans — Due to antibiotic overuse on farms, or in human medicine? — one question has been stubbornly hard to answer. If antibiotic-resistant bacteria do arise on farms, do they leave the farm and circulate in the wider world? And if they do, how much damage do they do?
A multi-national team of researchers recently published their answers to both questions. Their answer: In Europe, 1,518 deaths and 67,236 days in the hospital, every year, which would not otherwise have occurred.