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Less antibiotic use reduces drug-resistant bacteria

By Ben Wasserman
Apr 17, 2006, 23:17
April 17 (foodconsumer.org) – Overuse of antibiotics in men or animals is attributed to the ever-increasing bacterial drug resistance. A new Australian study has linked less antibiotic use in animals with low levels of drug-resistant bacteria in humans.
The study, published in the May 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, was to examine whether less use of antibiotics known as fluoroquinolones would lower the bacterial drug resistance in humans. In Australia, the government has banned use of the antibiotic in poultry.
In the study of 585 patients from five Australian states, Australian researchers examined drug resistance of Campylobacter jejuni, a leading bacterial cause of foodborne illness in industrialized countries, in the study patients. None of the patients had received fluoroquinolone within the month prior to becoming ill.


The researchers found that only 2 percent of the locally acquired Campylobacter isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin, a type of fluoroquinolone. This is compared with 29 percent in countries where fluoroquinolone use in animals is allowed.
The study shows Australia’s policy of restricting antibiotic use in food-producing animals may be linked with lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria found in its citizens.
In the US, use of fluoroquinolone in poultry was only banned in 2005. The ban was proposed by the FDA five years ago.