IDSA continues to urge a curb on the troubling overuse of antimicrobials in food animals, which contributes to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria to people.
“Agricultural uses of antibiotics have been barely noticed by the public and the media until recently,” wrote IDSA President Richard Whitley, MD, FIDSA, in an opinion piece that appeared in several major newspapers across the country earlier this month. “Yet 30 years of scientific evidence demonstrates that antibiotic use in food animal production contributes to the spread of drug-resistant bacteria to people in many ways, including improper handling of contaminated meat and vegetables and/or consuming tainted food or water.”
The column noted IDSA’s support of legislation introduced in Congress, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), which would essentially ban the routine use of important antibiotics in food animal production for growth promotion, feed efficiency and routine disease prevention. “Without public support and quick government action, we stand little chance of getting ahead of the drug-resistant bacteria that take the lives of our loved ones with increasing frequency each year,” Dr. Whitley wrote.
In January, the Society also sent a letter to the America Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Antimicrobial Use Task Force raising concerns about the group’s proposed animal-drug policy. AVMA’s proposal lacks specificity on the use of antibiotics in animals and the oversight role of veterinarians in assuring that antibiotic therapies are used appropriately, IDSA said.
A two-part CBS Evening News investigation into antibiotic use in animals that aired this month also helped raise awareness of the issue (part one may be viewed here, part two here.
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