Also, use of antibiotics for viral infections in people is another practice that achieves absolutely nothing except to create drug-resistant bacteria.
Report links antibiotics at farms to human deaths
San Francisco Chronicle
September 16, 2013
In this undated photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one form of CRE bacteria, sometimes called nightmare bacteria. CRE bacteria is blamed for 600 deaths each year, and can withstand treatment from virtually every type of antibiotic. (AP Photo/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Photo: Associated Press
Washington -- The Centers for Disease Control on Monday confirmed a link between routine use of antibiotics in livestock and growing bacterial resistance that is killing at least 23,000 people a year.
The report is the first by the government to estimate how many people die annually of infections that no longer respond to antibiotics because of overuse in people and animals.
CDC Director Thomas Frieden called for urgent steps to scale back and monitor use, or risk reverting to an era when common bacterial infections of the urinary tract, bloodstream, respiratory system and skin routinely killed and maimed.
"We will soon be in a post-antibiotic era if we're not careful," Frieden said. "For some patients and some microbes, we are already there."
The discovery of penicillin in 1928 transformed medicine. But because bacteria rapidly evolve to resist the drugs, and resistance is encouraged with each use, antibiotics are a limited resource.
Along with the annual fatalities, the report estimated at least 2 million antibiotic-resistant infections occur each year. Frieden said these are "minimal estimates" because they count only microbes that are resistant to multiple antibiotics and include only hospital infections, omitting cases from dialysis centers, nursing homes and other medical settings.
At least 70 percent of all antibiotics in the United States are used to speed growth of farm animals or to prevent diseases among animals raised in feedlots. Routine low doses administered to large numbers of animals provide ideal conditions for microbes to develop resistance.
"Widespread use of antibiotics in agriculture has resulted in increased resistance in infections in humans," Frieden said...