Infectious diseases A-Z: Antibiotics in farm animals

November 23, 2017 by From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network

The World Health Organization is urging countries to restrict the use of antibiotics in food animal production. Food producers in many countries feed low-dose antibiotics to farm animals to encourage the animals to grow bigger and faster, which, in return, contributes to the antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

Mayo Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, says, "When you look at the amount of used in the U. S., about 75 percent is actually used in animals and not humans. We know that the overuse of antibiotics is the single biggest driver of . And that's why the use of antibiotics in our food supply is one of our biggest concerns."


"Antibiotics are used in animals for a number of different reasons," says Dr. Rajapakse. "Certainly, they are used to treat animals who have infections. They can be used to try and prevent infections in animals. And, in some situations, they are used to promote the growth of animals. It's really these last two categories that we are most concerned with. And it's this mass use of antibiotics in many hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of that really contributes to the development of resistance and poses a risk to humans, as well."


Dr. Rajapakse says, "We've heard from a few large food restaurants and fast-food chains about trying to eliminate or reduce the use of antibiotics in the food products that they serve. This is great to see and is really important."

"As consumers, we encourage people to try and consume and buy food products that are produced without the use of antibiotics," Dr. Rajapakse says. "The more we support these types of practices amongst businesses, the more likely other businesses are to catch on and start to incorporate these types of policies themselves."

Explore further: Slash antibiotic use in animals to buck resistance in humans: WHO


Related Stories

Slash antibiotic use in animals to buck resistance in humans: WHO

November 7, 2017
The World Health Organization on Tuesday urged farmers to stop using antibiotics in healthy animals to help ensure the drugs remain effective in fighting life-threatening diseases in humans.

EU report: More evidence on link between antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance

July 27, 2017
The European Food Safety Authority, the European Medicines Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control are concerned about the impact of use of antibiotics on the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria. ...

Canada should ban off-label antibiotic use in agriculture: CMAJ

June 4, 2012
Canada should ban off-label use of antibiotics in farm animals because it contributes significantly to antibiotic resistance in humans, states an editorial in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

High levels of antibiotic-resistance in Indian poultry farming raises concerns

July 20, 2017
A new study from India raises questions about the dangers to human health of farming chicken with growth-promoting antibiotics—including some of the same drugs used in raising millions of chickens in the United States and ...

Recommended for you

First proof a synthesized antibiotic is capable of treating superbugs

March 23, 2018
A "game changing" new antibiotic which is capable of killing superbugs has been successfully synthesised and used to treat an infection for the first time—and could lead to the first new class of antibiotic drug in 30 years.

Scientists identify potential drug target in blood-feeding hookworms

March 22, 2018
In hookworms that infect and feed on the blood of mice, scientists have discovered a key step in blood digestion that can be targeted to disrupt the parasite's development and survival. These findings, published in PLOS Pathogens ...

Global burden of low back pain—a consequence of negligence and misinformation

March 21, 2018
A series of groundbreaking papers from Australian and international researchers in The Lancet, published today (22/3) warns that low back pain is a major health burden globally - across developed and developing nations - ...

Microscopic 'shuttles' transport enzyme from cells to trigger onset of kidney disease

March 21, 2018
A new study involving the University of Sheffield has identified a key culprit in the onset of kidney disease in a major marker for kidney disease development.

Metabolite therapy proves effective in treating C. difficile in mice

March 20, 2018
A team of UCLA researchers found that a metabolite therapy was effective in mice for treating a serious infection of the colon known as Clostridium difficile infection, or C. difficile.

Study of COPD patients has created a 'looking glass' into genome of pathogen

March 19, 2018
Decades of work on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at the University at Buffalo and the Veterans Affairs Western New York Healthcare System have yielded extraordinary information about the pathogen that does ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.