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Less antibiotic use in food animals leads to less drug resistance in people, study shows

lead author Leanne Unicomb, an epidemiologist with OzFoodNet and Australia National University. However, the evidence indicates that "use of fluoroquinolones in food animals in other countries has increased the risk of resistance in [Campylobacter] isolates infecting humans," she said. The researchers concluded that the low drug resistance they found "probably reflects Australia's policy of prohibiting fluoroquinolones for animal use."

Other industrialized nations have also realized the apparent benefits of restricting antimicrobial use in animals. Sweden prohibited the use of fluoroquinolones for food animals in 1986, Norway has never licensed their use in food animals, and both countries have reported low trends--similar to Australia's--in fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter infecting humans. The United States, in a recent effort to reduce American levels of Campylobacter drug resistance, has taken a cue from other countries' success. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed banning fluoroquinolones in poultry in 2000, but one drugmaker fought the ban until it was finally enacted in September 2005.

Reducing the use of antibiotics in food animals, coupled with the authors' additional recommendation of "sensible use of fluoroquinolones in clinical settings," seem to be steps in the right direction toward curbing harmful foodborne bacterial drug resistance.


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Source:Infectious Diseases Society of America


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