Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

One Quarter Of U.S. Poultry And Meat Tainted With Resistant Bacteria

A schematic representation of how antibiotic r...

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From a 15 April 2011 Medical News Today article

7% of poultry and meat samples were found to be contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and half of those with bacteria resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics, researchers from the Translational Genomics Research Institute wrote in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases[full text].

Strains of drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, also known as S. aureus, are bacteria associated with several human diseases and appear to be widespread in the poultry and meat sold in American retail outlets. The researchers were surprised the contamination rate was so high.

The authors explain that theirs is the first nationwide assessment of contamination of the U.S. food supply with antibiotic resistant S. aureus.

According to the results of genetic (DNA) tests that were carried out, it appears that the major source of contamination is from livestock (farm animals).

Proper cooking of S. aureus tainted poultry and meats should kill off all bacteria. However, there is a risk of human infection if the food is not handled properly during the preparation of meals….

…Senior author, Lance B. Price, Ph.D., said:

“For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial.

The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today.”

The authors explained that highly industrialized farming, where animals are densely packed together and fed steady low doses of antibiotic, are perfect breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria to thrive, and then make their way into humans.

Dr. Price said:

“Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat Staph infections; but when Staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics – like we saw in this study – that leaves physicians few options.”

Paul S. Keim, Ph.D., co-author, said:

“The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria – including Staph – remains a major challenge in clinical medicine.

This study shows that much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with multidrug-resistant Staph. Now we need to determine what this means in terms of risk to the consumer.”…

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Medical and Health Research News, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Antimicrobial Resistance Posing Growing Health Threat

CDC and Partners Celebrate World Health Day 2011 to Draw Attention to the Issue

MRSA

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria
Source: Public Health Image Library (PHIL)

Excerpts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) press release

Millions of Americans take antimicrobial drugs each year to fight illness, trusting they will work. However, the bacteria, viruses and other pathogens are fighting back. Within the past couple of years alone, new drug-resistant patterns have emerged and resistance has increased – a trend that demands urgent action to preserve the last lines of defense against many of these germs. Today, CDC joins theWorld Health Organization and other health partners in recognizing World Health Day, which this year spotlights antimicrobial resistance.

“People assume that antibiotics will always be there to fight the worst infections, but antimicrobial resistance is robbing us of that certainty and new drug-resistant pathogens are emerging,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “It’s not enough to hope that we’ll have effective drugs to combat these infections. We must all act now to safeguard this important resource.”

Antimicrobial resistance—when germs change in a way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs to treat them—is a growing global problem. Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous of the malaria parasites, has developed resistance to nearly all of the currently available antimalarial drugs in parts of Southeast Asia. Sporadic cases of pandemic H1N1 flu have shown resistance to oseltamivir, one of only two antivirals that work against it. In the United States, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, remains a problem in many health care settings. Drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, previously seen in a limited number of hospitals, has now been reported in at least 36 states. Gonorrhea is now showing potential for resistance to cephalosporins, the only recommended antibiotic left to treat this common sexually transmitted infection.

Antibiotic resistance increases the economic burden on the entire health care system. Resistant infections are often more severe, leading to longer hospital stays and increased costs for treatment. According to the latest available data, antibiotic resistance in the United States costs an estimated $20 billion a year in excess health care costs, $35 million in other societal costs and more than 8 million additional days that people spend in the hospital.

As part of this effort, CDC—in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and other partners—recently released a public health action plan laying out 11 key goals to combat antimicrobial resistance in the areas of surveillance, prevention and control, research and product development. The plan is designed to facilitate communication and coordination as well to provide guidance on the most pressing resistance issues and how to address them….

…Appropriate use of existing antibiotics can limit the spread of antibiotic resistance, preserving antibiotics for the future. CDC advocates for the appropriate use of antibiotics through its Get Smart programs focused on community and health care settings. CDC is engaged in working to address antimicrobial resistance across a growing number of disease-causing organisms and settings.

The public can also play a role in reducing the threat of antimicrobial resistance by not pressuring their health care providers for antibiotics, not sharing or saving antibiotics, and taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed, including taking the entire amount prescribed. Health care providers can prevent antimicrobial resistance by ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment of infections, prescribing antibiotics appropriately, and following infection prevention techniques to prevent the spread of drug-resistant infections in health care facilities.

To learn more about antimicrobial resistance by disease and setting, please visithttp://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/f0407_antimicrobialresistance.html. For more information on CDC’s antimicrobial resistance efforts, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/index.html.

The action plan is posted on the Federal Register and comments on the plan will be accepted through April 15, 2011. To view the action plan, please visit:http://wwwn.cdc.gov/publiccomments/comments/a-public-health-action-plan-to-combat-antimicrobial-resistance-draft.aspx.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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