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STATES CHRONICLE – While we live in a society that has been focused more and more on the provenience of our food in recent days, we often overlook some of the most dangerous parts at the expense of what sounds better. Instead of worrying about what the animal was fed before it ended up on our plate (or in our buckets), we should be more worried about how it was treated for diseases.
Just as vegetarians ignore the highly increased levels of pollutions they cause with their dietary choices and choose to focus on saving the animals, omnivores choose to focus on how well the animal lived (if at all) instead on focusing on the factors that can prove to be a real danger.
And according to a study from Michigan State University, feeding animals antibiotics leads to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Even worse, these superbugs can pass the antibiotic resistance from one to the other, practically creating new strands of bacteria that cannot be treated with regular medicine.
The new study was published on the 12th of April in the journal mBio, and it focused on several very big swine farms in China, as well as on another population of pigs in the United States. These farms generally feed the animals huge amounts of antibiotics in order to make sure that no infections happen to pop up.
This intensive preventive use of antibiotics often leads to bacteria that adapt to the medicine intended to kill them, and that pass this resistance on to other bacteria that happen to inhabit the same animal. This gives to very dangerous superbugs that can’t be treated by regular medicine. Even worse, they often pass to humans when they eat the infected animals, leading to tens of thousands of annual deaths that could have been easily preventable.
According to Michigan State University’s James Tiedje, the lead researcher for the study,
Our results clearly show the diversity of resistance genes on swine farms and that many genes likely originated from the same source. We also showed the linkage of resistance genes to each other as well as genes that enable them to be clustered in one bacterium or shared among bacteria.
Multiple national and international health agencies alike have repeatedly warned that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a serious threat to our livelihoods and that they are now considered to be a global health crisis. These superbugs are reaching dangerous levels around the entire world.
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at least two million Americans get infected with these antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year, and about 23,000 people die annually because of these infections. They are also responsible for one in seven infections in U.S. hospitals.
Image source: Wikimedia