There’s growing concern about the use of antibiotics in the animal industry and agriculture.
Australia imports about 7 hundred tonnes of antibiotics annually. More than half of that goes into stock-feed, about 8% is for veterinary use, leaving only one-third for human use.
Antibiotics are used widely in food animals as growth promoters and to prevent and treat infection. Avoparcin, a glycopeptide related to the human last line drug Vancomycin, is used in Australia as a growth promotant in pigs, chickens and feedlot cattle. Virginiamycin is used as a growth promotant but also for treating resistant human bacteria.
As well as oral administration and injection of antibiotics, small amounts are mixed into animal feed for weeks or months at a time. Feed dosing provides ripe conditions for the emergence of resistant strains.
Antibiotics are also sprayed onto fruit trees to prevent and treat infection. Traces of antibiotics that remain after the initial spraying may encourage emergence of resistant strains of bacteria. During spraying the wind can spread low concentrations of the antibiotic further afield, possibly increasing the risk of resistant bacteria. In both cases, it is possible for antibiotic resistant bacteria to enter the food chain, ultimately reaching humans.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are slated to become a more common cause of death than cancer by 2050 worldwide, according to a new study sponsored by the British government.
“Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a Crisis for the Health and Wealth of Nations”was issued by the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance on Thursday. It combines data from two models that mostly concern stats on E. coli, malaria, and TB infections. It also notes that areas with high malaria, HIV, and TB rates are likely to suffer the most from the effects of these bacteria. India, Nigeria, Indonesia, and Russia are probably the countries most at risk, the report said.
According to a statement from Jim O’Neill, the economist who is chairing the review, “Drug-resistant infections already kill hundreds of thousands a year globally, and by 2050 that figure could be more than 10 million.” Cancer killed 8.2 million people in 2012, the most recent year with complete data. It’s worth noting that cancer deaths, at least in the United States, have declined by 20 percent since 1991 according to the American Cancer Society.
Source. Vice.Follow Mike Pearl on Twitter
Regrowth of ‘jumpseed’, 3 weeks after being sprayed with glyphosate.