An antibiotic-resistant strain of E.Coli to go along with that new strain of drug-resistant Staph that I mentioned yesterday:
A virulent strain of antibiotic-resistant E.coli has left 18 dead in Europe, left over 1,800 sick, and touched off a continent-wide scare against all produce, suspected to be the source of the infection.
[...] Germ sleuths might also trace back the source of the outbreak to a specific herd of cattle or even a single heffer, a so-called “smoking cow” in whose bowels the e.coli festered and mutated. The cow’s manure could have also tainted irrigation waters, which could have then lead to produce becoming contaminated with the bacteria.
Then there’s the worries that such an outbreak could occur in the US. The FDA has increased its monitoring of produce imported from Europe, although not very much is brought over. But the bigger concern is that right now we only test the food supply for a single strain of E.coli that up until now was thought the most dangerous. There’s a multitude of other kinds of E.colis out there that we don’t test for, and that’s where a stateside “super-toxic” E.coli could erupt from.
“There are no regulations in place today that would prevent this kind of outbreak from occurring,” in America, the Center for Science in the Public Interest told NPR.
Antibiotics are used to promote growth in cattle and other animals in the food chain. In June of last year, “The Food and Drug Administration urged farmers on Monday to stop giving antibiotics to cattle, poultry, hogs and other animals to spur their growth, citing concern that drug overuse is helping to create dangerous bacteria that do not respond to medical treatment and endanger human lives.”
The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70 percent of antibiotics and related drugs used in the United States are given to animals.
Many of the same classes of drugs fed to animals are deemed “critically” important in human medicine by the FDA, including penicillin, tetracyclines and sulfonamides. In recent years, public health experts say there has been an alarming increase in the number of bacteria that have grown resistant to antibiotics, leading to severe, untreatable illnesses in humans.
Antibiotics are probably a much less expensive way to grow livestock than if one used food and water combined with TIME. How did the FDA proposal turn out? A year later no decision has yet been made, and the GOP has determined the budgets for the FDA and USDA should be cut.