Yet another reason why antibiotics and livestock shouldn’t mix: It may be responsible for creating “super-toxic” bacteria like the strain of E.coli — resistant to 14 different antibiotic drugs — now terrorizing Europe. Peter Smith at GOOD writes:
… the rhetorical question that should be on everyone’s mind: “Where has this organism been that it’s been exposed to so much antibiotics that it’s worth its while to be resistant?”
Currently, antibiotics are being fed to farm animals to promote growth. In fact, more antibiotics are now being fed to animals in North Carolina than given to the entire human population in the United States. The outbreak could be a bellwether for the deadly proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. So, if there’s something we should take away from the German outbreak here at home, it is convincing the Food and Drug Administration to stop farms from squandering these drugs.
As for the immediate source of the outbreak: First it was blamed on Spanish cucumbers, then German sprouts. This afternoon, officials nixed the German sprout idea and announced that they’re back to the ‘we have no idea’ position on the culprit. Andreas Hensel, the head of Germany’s Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, said it might never be possible to establish the outbreak’s cause, AP reports.
“We have to be clear on this: Maybe we won’t be able anymore to identify the source,” he told reporters in Berlin.
Symptoms of E.coli infections are stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. But the CDC says Americans who haven’t recently traveled to Germany shouldn’t worry, because the European Union isn’t a significant source of produce for the U.S. Reassuring for now, but who knows what kinds of mutant bacteria we’re breeding in our own backyards…