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Farm antibiotics and bacterial resistance rates in food animals

by 5m Editor
8 August 2001, at 12:00am

By Danish Veterinary Laboratory - A recently published study in Denmark into the use of farm antibiotics to promote animal growth concludes that banning antibiotics for this purpose can cause a dramatic reduction in bacterial resistance rates in food animals.

Researchers at the Danish Veterinary Laboratory in Copenhagen tested more than 2500 isolates of enterococcal bacteria from pigs and broiler chickens for antibiotic resistance patterns from 1995 to 2000. They found that during this period, resistance rates to avoparcin (which was banned in Denmark in 1995) plummeted from nearly 73% to just over 5%. Resistance to virginiamycin, which was banned in 1998, dropped from more than 66% in 1998 to less than 40% in 2000.

These findings "represent the first documented effects of large-scale interventions to reduce the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance," the researchers noted. "They demonstrate that the exposure of humans to bacteria resistant to antimicrobial drugs and to resistance genes through food can be reduced effectively by intervention."

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Source: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, July 2001