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Farm Workers Carry Drug-Resistant Staph Despite Partial FDA Antibiotics Ban 120

An anonymous reader writes "New research out of the University of North Carolina now shows factory farm workers actually carry drug-resistant staph. Europe has long ago banned the use of antibiotics in livestock, but the FDA remains behind the curve with a partial ban. Thanks to large industrial farming operations, we all remain continuously at risk as our last line of antibiotics is wasted on animals."
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Farm Workers Carry Drug-Resistant Staph Despite Partial FDA Antibiotics Ban

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  • PIck Your Hospital? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @02:27AM (#44173381)

    So, if you don't want to get MRSA while in the hospital, you should pick one that does not have many farm hands as patients?

  • by ttucker ( 2884057 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @03:29AM (#44173617)

    You have no understanding on bacteria, vaccination, or statistics. Please do not voice your uninformed opinion ever again.

    You have no understanding of science! Correlation in fact does not provide sufficient evidence for a causation hypothesis. It is not just a meme. For example, a differential hypothesis might be: industrial farm workers spending more time in the hospital (lets suppose that factory farms are more dangerous than organic ones) could easily explain a higher presence of drug resistant bacteria in the test population. Would it be simple to further demonstrate the hypothesis stating that the MRSA actually came from the livestock? No, it would not... think DNA profiling of the bacterial strains. Is it appropriate to berate someones intelligence for remaining skeptical of an under-supported claim? No, not really.

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:04AM (#44173999) Homepage

    Nope. I live in a rural area(city of ~30k rural pop ~120k), and my local hospital has had zero issues or outbreaks of MRSA. Though the nearby cities of London and Kitchener/Waterloo/Cambridge here in Ontario, have all had problems of MRSA. If you don't want to get it, you need to go to a hospital that has good microbiological controls in place.

  • by ericloewe ( 2129490 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @07:25AM (#44174525)

    First of all, don't blindly trust wikipedia.

    Second, drug-resistant bacteria do develop in animals given antibiotics for no real reason (other than the magical, inexplicable enhanced growth == profit margins). Bacteria can be easily transferred from animals to humans. The majority of them is harmless, probably. But, if something nasty does mutate and gains resistance to certain antibiotics, it getting transferred (it will, sooner or later) to humans may be a very big problem.

    To make things worse, bacteria like to share genetic material, which helps (among other things) spread immunities to other bacteria.

    It's not a matter of trying to connect the dots. It is possible. Which means it will probably happen, given enough occurrences.

    Let's assume that you're right. Where do antibiotics go after they leave an organism? A good portion ends up in water supplies, so the antibiotics get further distributed, ending up in humans. Combine small doses of antibiotics with an infection and you have the perfect environment for the development of antibiotic resistance.

    But again, let's assume that won't happen. What's the advantage of using antibiotics for no reason, other than somehow making animals grow faster? A larger profit margin for the owner, perhaps.

    It boils down to the very likely possibility of some drug-resistant bacteria to show up versus someone's profit margin.

  • by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @12:24PM (#44177821)
    Yes, because a google search is the equivalent of a critical review, and not a popularity contest subject to clever tricks such as search engine optimizat at all.

    I don't know where this Dr. Morris works within the FDA, but it is not within the center for veterinary medicine (CVM). The group responsible for regulating drugs in animal feed. The officials within CVM are prohibited by law from revoking the approval of a product without sufficient evidence of danger. Studies like the one above don't prove anything, they are all just correllation. And as we all know on /., Correlation is not proof of Causation!

    I have several ideas for trial designs that might show stronger support, one way or the other, but instead of coming up with better designs they keep just repeating the same designs.

    Idea #1: Find two demographically similar communities (preferably both having similar farm populations and production levels), one with a hospital and the other without and look at community MRSA rates. If I'm right, the town with the hospital will have much higher MRSA levels within the community if not, there will be no difference.

    Idea #2: Similar approach, but without hospitals and with farms under opposing antibiotic use rules. In the US there are several university farms that have gone without antibiotics for decades, or a US community could be comparied to an EU community. If I'm wrong, then there would be higher MRSA rates in the community with higher drug use on swine farms. If I'm right there will be no difference.

    I'm willing to conced the point if someone will show me something more rigorous than "We tested a bunch of people in a sub group without any control and found MRSA" because all people have some exposure to both potential sources of MRSA. As I said before, it is in my personal best interest for sub-theraputic antibiotics to be banned becuase I support a sales force that sells allternatives to antibiotics. I'd just like to see the science done right instead of having the decision based on crap correlations.

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