3119.0 MRSA and Antibiotic Use in Animal Agriculture: An Emerging Health Threat Down on the Farm - JOINTLY SPONSORED BY ENVIRONMENT AND FOOD/NUTRITION

Monday, November 9, 2009: 10:30 AM
A 2007 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association noted that U.S. deaths from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that year exceeded those from HIV/AIDS. Once primarily a hospital risk, MRSA increasingly occurs in healthy people in community settings. New science suggests some of these infections may originate in animals raised for food. Recent studies have detected MRSA in livestock and retail meat in Iowa and Canada, echoing earlier findings in Europe. Though MRSA is destroyed by cooking, people handling animals or raw meat can become infected or transfer it to others. Community-acquired MRSA may have emerged due to major changes in food animal production. Until recently, livestock were raised primarily outdoors on small to mid-size diversified farms. Since the 1980s, this model has given way to very large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) characterized by indoor confinement, extreme crowding, and large volumes of manure requiring disposal. CAFO operators routinely administer antibiotics and related drugs to spur growth and compensate for the stress and infection risk of this system. The American Medical Association and others support pending legislation to limit such uses of medically important drugs. This session will explore links between MRSA and antibiotics use in agriculture and discuss future research needs and practical and policy solutions to minimize antibiotic use and the threat of MRSA.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe the findings of recent investigations of MRSA prevalence in livestock, farm workers, and retail meats in Iowa and Canada. 2. Discuss the link between regular administration of antibiotics to food animals and the presence of MRSA in these animals, their human caretakers, and resulting meat products. 3. Identify specific agricultural practices and policies that can reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry, thereby reducing the likelihood of MRSA development.

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Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Food and Nutrition, Socialist Caucus, Veterinary Public Health

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

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