Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Flip Side of Antibiotic Resistance

For years advocates, with little or no evidence, have blamed antibiotic resistance in humans on use of antibiotics in livestock. But what about the reverse? Could it be that people are transmitting antibiotic resistance to livestock?

Researchers at the University of Glasgow looked at a strain of salmonella found both in humans and animals and determined that, when antibiotic resistance was common to both, it most often appeared in humans first. They stopped short of saying the resistance migrated from people to the animals. But they did conclude animals were unlikely to be the major source of the resistance in humans.

The British Veterinary Association welcomed the research, saying it calls into question policies that restrict the use of animal antibiotics to protect humans.  BVA President Carl Padgett called the research “a hugely important step in our understanding of the way resistance occurs.”

The University of Glasgow study was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society.

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