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FDA limits antibiotics for livestock..

* FDA limits antibiotics for livestock. Concerned that the practice of providing cattle, pigs, chickens, and turkeys with a common class of antibiotics may be contributing to the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered ranchers and farmers to limit the drugs ingested by livestock being bred for food. The drugs, known as cephalosporins and including such brands as Cefzil and Keflex, are often added to feed and water to increase the robustness of the livestock. They are the same antibiotics that are frequently prescribed for the treatment of pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and strep throat in humans. They are also often prescribed before surgery. Many microbiologists believe the use of the drugs in animals has paved the way for the appearance of bacteria against which they are ineffective, at the cost of perhaps thousands of human lives.

The restriction is reminiscent of the FDA's ban on agricultural uses of fluoroquinolones, including Cipro, in 2000, and is comparably controversial. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-New York), who is a microbiologist, applauded the FDA action, even as she suggested it was insufficient: "We are staring at a massive public health threat in the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs." Dr. M. Gatz Riddell of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, however, said antibiotics use in animals is "highly misunderstood in the human-health community" and that its dangers have been exaggerated.
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Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2012
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