Antibiotic use is once again in the news but this time it isn’t people overusing them or doctors over-prescribing them that’s the problem.
Farms Are Creating Drug Resistant Bacteria, And It’s Coming For Your Kids
And this time it’s actually kids that are being put at a higher risk because of them. Take a look at the meat you’re eating (yes, meat again) because farm animals are being given antibiotics that are making your kids sicker than usual.
A new report is helping highlight that kids are acquiring strains of bacteria that do not respond to treatment. Medicines that are generally used for farm animals are the lead cause behind the issue.
“Children can come into contact with these organisms that are resistant, and if that contact results in an infection, then those infections are extremely difficult to treat,” according to Dr. Jerome A. Paulson, the report’s lead author.
Overuse of Livestock Antibiotics
So why is this happening? The first thing that comes to mind is sick farm animals are being treated, but that isn’t the case. What’s happening is that farm animals are given antibiotics so that they can grow faster while consuming a smaller amount of food, according to the report. While the farmer gets away with bigger animals and smaller food costs, a side effect is that the animals in question experience a change in bacteria, i.e., it no longer responds to the very antibiotics that the animals have been consuming.
When the antibiotic resistant strain infects a person it can become harder to treat with regular medicine. Kids are a much much higher risk. They can end up with a multiple drug resistant strain in many ways. They can eat food that has the bacteria, sure, but they can actually acquire it directly from the animal, too.
Paulson acknowledged that a majority will not actually end up with an MDR strain, however, the ones that do will be in quite the predicament.
Drug Resistant Bacteria Is “Coming Soon” For Your Kids
Children with weaker immune systems, and especially ones that are going through chemotherapy will be at a higher risk. Children with typically healthy immune systems will not be in as much of a pickle as children with weak immune systems. Their bodies react differently to bacteria.
The report highlighted that every year over 2 million people in the US acquire an MDR infection, and from that pool, around 23,000 end up breathing their last.
Around 60% of the antimicrobial agents that are used around farm animals are essential in tackling infections affecting humans. A lot of these agents that are used on the animals often turn out to be the same ones that are being used to cure people.
In such a situation, it is important to not only take a better look at one’s meat intake, but also revise what we’re doing to the animals that are being mass farmed for consumption. The researchers on this study point out that these substances are many times introduced to animals without vet approval or any doctor’s check.
The surprisingly bottom line is that children with weaker immune systems will remain at risk as long as animals are treated unethically. That’s some direct link.