The Antibiotic-Resistant Disease That Can Be Fatal In Killing Humans

An antibiotic-resistant bacteria knownas Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase (ESBL) is killing humans and swine in Denmark. The culprit in the deaths of many cancer and liver disease patients is the ESBL bacteria. There has been a jump of 50 per cent in patients being infected.

According to health officials, it appears the bacteria is being transmitted from pigs to humans. The feeling is that the increasing use of antibiotics in agriculture may be responsible for the spread.

What Are ESBLS
Enzymes known as Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases are produced by certain types of bacteria. This makes the bacteria resistant to antibiotics normally used to treat them.

In the mid 1980s ESBLs were first discovered. They were mostly found in the Klebsiella species of bacteria which were found in intensive care units in hospitals. It did not appear to be a problem until recently as not too many people were affected by the bacteria.

The British Health Protection Agency (HPA) have said that there is now a new class of ESBL (called CTX-M enzymes). These are now being associated with E.Coli bacteria. It has come to light that the ESBL producing E. Coli has a resistance to penicillins and cephalosporins, and are now showing up in Urinary Tract infections (UTI)

Some other species of bacteria now producing ESBLS
Proteus Mirabilis
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

The Problems are Seriously Worse than you Think
In a study published in 2007, in the American Medical Association Journal, there were almost 100,000 cases of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus auereus (MRSA) infections in the US in 2005, leading to deaths of around 18,000. This resulted in more deaths that HIV/AIDS which killed around 17,000 in 2005.

Diseases resistant to antibiotics are a problem caused by man. However, not a lot is being reported about the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture, resulting in problems with humans consuming antibiotics leading to increased antibiotic resistance.

Now both MRSA and ESBL are being associated with animals being raised for food production and in particular pigs. For disease prevention many animals are given low doses. This in turn allows the animals to gain more bodyweight than those not on antibiotics.
This is making the stakes much higher by allowing perfect conditions for antibiotic resistance to become more prevalent.

The rising figures surrounding antibiotic resistance are being fuelled by the practice of using antibiotics in animals causing resistance in a wide variety of bacteria resulting in human diseases.

Sources of Other Agricultural Antibiotics
Chickens raised in a conventional way were also a problem. Bacteria from these types of chickens, showed that people who were consuming them, were resistant to Synercid, the very antibiotic used to treat antibiotic resistant bacteria.

The problem with using antibiotics in agriculture does not stop here. They can filter down the food chain in other ways through manure into your food supplies.

In the setting of a greenhouse, potatoes, corn and lettuce were grown in soil containing pig manure with everyday veterinary antibiotics added. The result was absorption in the tissue and leaves of all three crops. There was also a suggestion that root crops such as radishes, potatoes and carrots maybe at risk of accumulation of the antibiotics.

There were also implications for some organic farmers who use manure as their fertiliser. The result being if manure is used it contains antibiotics but is still labelled as organic.

What to do to Avoid Excessive Antibiotic Exposure
Grow it yourself

Get your produce from a local farm – one using non toxic farming methods. There are increasing numbers of community supported agricultural programs available selling healthy produce, locally grown.

Ensure to use grass fed beef. Grass fed cattle are not routinely fed antibiotics. If they do receive them it will only be for an infection, which would be rare, and would only be for a few days.

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