Advertisement
 
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,
Advertisement

Protecting human health

Friday, March 15, 2013 - Updated: 4:31 PM

A soldier shot in World War I may not have been killed by the initial wound. Yet there was a good chance a subsequent infection would take his life. By World War II, that soldier had a better chance of survival due to the wide availability of antibiotics. These miracles of modern medicine fight infections and save lives.

But the vast majority of antibiotics developed to treat people are given to the animals people eat. Farmers add low doses to feed and water to prevent disease in crowded livestock facilities. The drugs also promote growth. A bigger cow, pig, turkey or chicken translates into more money for producers.

How does this widespread use in animals affect humans? It is killing us, a growing number of scientists say.

Bacteria are adaptable little guys. Over time, they develop a resistance to commonly used antibiotics. Those more resilient bacteria then move from animals to humans. The bacteria causing everything from urinary tract infections to pneumonia in humans are more difficult to treat with common antibiotics.

Tens of thousands of Americans are killed each year by drug-resistant infections. It costs the country's health care system billions of dollars.

So what should be done? Obviously, there is a desperate need to develop new antibiotics. People have heard by now they should avoid overusing and misusing these drugs, which can contribute to resistance. But the extensive use of antibiotics in agriculture -- and its culpability in a human health crisis -- cannot be ignored. Science isn't ignoring it. Neither can Washington lawmakers.

At the very least, Congress should require more reporting on what drugs are being used on what animals so scientists can better track the impact on human health.

It's time for this country to care as much about protecting human health as growing big cows or chickens.

-- The Des Moines Register

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Area high school sports calendar
    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Amsterdam Police help Schenectady find homicide suspect
    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    URGENT New York panel picks 3 upstate resort casinos
    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    Port Jackson Media changes ownership
    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    New tax: Vehicle use tax approved
    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    Robert A. Savoie Jr.
    Thursday, December 18, 2014

    The Outlet Pass: AHS, B-P set to meet
    Monday, December 15, 2014

    Amsterdam bounces back from S-G defeat with impressive win over Broadalbin-Perth
    Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    B-P senior portrait is given the green light
    Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Second nature: St. Mary's staff conducts ebola drill
    Thursday, December 18, 2014

Advertisement

Copyright © Port Jackson Media

Privacy Policies: The Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook