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New Report Underscores Need for Congressional Action to Limit Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture
Date:1/30/2008

and resistance in humans, the United States still allows the routine and unnecessary use of critically important drugs in farm animals for growth promotion. The United States also fails to adequately monitor antimicrobial resistance in farm animals. Even the recent media coverage on MRSA being found in Canadian and European livestock has not prompted the US to check its own livestock to ensure food safety.

Proposed federal legislation would phase out the use of antibiotics that are important in human medicine as animal feed additives within two years. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act is sponsored by Senate Health Committee Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jack Reed (D-RI) in the Senate (S. 549) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the only microbiologist in Congress, and 34 other House members in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 962).

The Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition has recently highlighted a half-dozen scientific studies that clearly demonstrate the escalating health threat:

-- Clinical Infectious Diseases published a study this month showing that patients in a Dutch hospital who were exposed to pigs or veal calves (mostly farmers) had 3-fold increase in risk for MRSA infections.

-- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases published a study in December linking a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) once found only in pigs to more than 20 percent of all human MRSA infections in the Netherlands

-- Veterinary Microbiology published a study in October that found MRSA prevalent in Canadian pig farms and pig farmers, pointing to animal agriculture as a source of the deadly bacteria.

-- Applied and Environmental Microbiology published a study in August that linked the routine use of the antibiotic tetracycline, popular in swine production, to t
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SOURCE Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition
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