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New Study Links Animal Agriculture to More Than 20% of MRSA Infections in the Netherlands
Date:12/3/2007

for Congress to compel the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine whether swine, cattle and poultry harbor MRSA in the US and could be reservoirs from which infections are making their way into the community.

"Antibiotic resistance is exploding in our hospitals and communities. Medical experts point to the profligate use of antibiotics in animal feed as a significant cause, but those in charge of safeguarding our food system are mostly just whistling in the dark," said Rebecca Goldburg, Senior Scientist at Environmental Defense.

The heavy use of antibiotics in industrialized livestock operations can select for resistant bacteria, such as MRSA. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of all the antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States are used as feed additives for chicken, hogs, and beef cattle. Antibiotics use in pig farms in the Netherlands is believed to be facilitating the spread of MRSA there.

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 American Medical Association, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are among the more than 350 health, agriculture, and other groups nationwide that have endorsed this bill.


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SOURCE Keep Antibiotics Working Coalition
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