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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Health Note/Antibiotic Resistance

Air Date: Week of

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Living on Earth’s Diane Toomey reports on researchers from the Centers for Disease Control who have found a rise in antibiotic resistance of a common food-borne pathogen.


CURWOOD: Just ahead: how to be a good guest when visiting the planet Mars. First, this Environmental Health Note from Diane Toomey.


TOOMEY: Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control have found more evidence that the use of antibiotics in farm animals has led to a rise in antibiotic resistance in human diseases. The new research centers on Campylocbacter, a foodborne pathogen that’s found primarily in chickens and is responsible for almost two and a half million infections in the U.S. each year.

The antibiotic cipro is used to treat these infections in humans. But a similar drug, known as baytril, is used to treat the illness in poultry. A number of scientists believe this practice had lead to a rise in baytril-resistant microbes and that resistance has spread to humans.

The CDC study found that in 2001, 19 percent of campylocbactor samples from food poisoning cases tested positive for resistance to cipro. That’s up from 14 percent the previous year. The FDA has proposed banning baytril on poultry farms. A number of major poultry producers have already voluntarily done so. But Bayer, the company that makes baytril, is appealing the proposed ban and says use of this drug in sick birds actually ensures only healthy chickens and turkeys enter the food supply. That’s this week’s Environmental Health Note. I’m Diane Toomey.

CURWOOD: And you’re listening to Living on Earth.

[MUSIC: Stereo MC’s, “Fever” Rebirth of the Cool, 4th & Bway (1993)]



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