The last time you took your five-year-old to the family physician with a serious case of strep throat were they hesitant to prescribe him an antibiotic?It's scary to think that as more and more bacteria develop immunity antibiotics are losing their potency.Bacterial resistance is a real problem in human health, but the question is, how much impact does animal drug use have on the problem?You may think this is only an issue for humans, but this immunity to antibiotics is also causing a serious situation in the livestock industry, and their issues could quite possibly affect you too.
It's scary to think that doctors are facing problems like "hospital pneumonia" that will not respond to any of their antibiotics, or resistant strains of sexually transmitted diseases.For cattle producers it's as equally frightening to be facing strains of food-borne pathogens that resist treatment.
How does bacteria become immune to antibiotics?The reality is that this is not just some theory doctors are testing.It's the same syndrome that is affecting pesticides.When a farmer has his crops sprayed the treatment might kill a billion bugs, but the one or two it misses will flourish.If that's because of genetic resistance to the treatment you've got a problem you can no longer treat with that compound.You now have to change compounds.It works the same way with the antibiotic scare; only you are now dealing with bacteria that might infect both livestock and humans.
Last spring the General Accounting Office (GAO) produced a study on the question.It talked about some theoretical problems and in the end recommended more study.It also noted that several other countries were imposing more strict regulations on antibiotic use in food animals, and warned that the U.S. could face trade restrictions in the future.The Animal Health Institute (AHI) is the trade group representing the animal healt…

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