Why is antimicrobial resistance a global concern?
AMR kills
Infections caused by resistant microorganisms often fail to respond to the standard treatment, resulting in prolonged illness and greater risk of death. The death rate for patients with serious infections treated in hospitals is about twice that in patients with infections caused by non-resistant bacteria.
AMR hampers the control of infectious diseases
AMR reduces the effectiveness of treatment, thus patients remain infectious for a longer time, increasing the risk of spreading resistant microorganisms to others.
AMR threatens a return to the pre-antibiotic era
Many infectious diseases risk becoming untreatable and uncontrollable, which could derail the progress made towards reaching the targets of the health-related United Nations Millennium Development Goals set for 2015.
AMR increases the costs of health care
When infections become resistant to first-line medicines, more expensive therapies must be used. The longer duration of illness and treatment, often in hospitals, increases health-care costs and the economic burden to families and societies.
AMR jeopardizes health-care gains to society
The achievements of modern medicine are put at risk by AMR. Without effective antimicrobials for care and prevention of infections, the success of treatments such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy and major surgery would be compromised.
AMR threatens health security, and damages trade and economies
The growth of global trade and travel allows resistant microorganisms to be spread rapidly to distant countries and continents through humans and food.
Facts on antimicrobial resistance
In 2011 there were an estimated 630 000 cases of MDR-TB among the world’s 12 million cases of TB. Globally, 3.7% of new cases and 20% of previously treated cases are estimated to have MDR-TB, with substantial differences in the frequency of MDR-TB between countries. Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB, defined as MDR-TB plus resistance to any fluoroquinolone and any second-line injectable drug) has been identified in 84 countries globally.
  1. Percentage of MDR-TB among new TB cases, 1994–2010
    pdf, 730kb
Percentage of MDR-TB among new TB cases since 1994
  1. Percentage of new tuberculosis cases with MDR-TB
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    A high percentage of hospital-acquired infections are caused by highly resistant bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycinor multidrug-resistant enterococciGram-negative bacteria .
  1. Staphylococcus aureus (hospital isolates): percentage of methicillin-resistant strains, 2007, Latin America and the Caribbean
    pdf, 151kb

Pigs on Drugs?

Craig Rowles raises pigs near Carroll, Iowa. The piglets will enter and leave this room as a group. Image: npr.org
Here in my hometown of Canby Oregon, I know a great deal of local pork growers who are concerned about providing safe meats for their consumers, without the use of added hormones or antibiotics. And this is great for those individuals like me who love pork, sausage, bacon, and other meats I designate as “weekend food”. These foods even taste better when you know that they are not dosed with low amounts of antibiotics which may cause us to be succeptable to aggressive diseases later on in life!
What does the National Council on Pork say?
“Pork producers recognize their moral obligation to provide for the well being of their animals and to raise them in a humane and compassionate manner”. This is the reason which pork producers are given to support their use of antibiotics and antimicrobials in their animals. But Forbes paints a different picture. Have you ever been to a pig farm? The average corporate pig farm actually raises hundreds of pigs, generation after generation, which wallow in their own feces. These feces, which are estimated to be produced at an average of 400,000 gallons per year in the United States alone, are a hog’s only home. Pretty sad, is it not?
Once again, we recommend organic! And what does this mean for your supply of bringing home the bacon? For now, one simply has to know the farmers! Look for farmers which not only do not administer antimicrobials, but keep their pigs in “free range” environments which do not keep them in close range! For more information, contact a local butcher such as Ebner’s Fine Meats in Canby!
Find them at www.ebnerscustommeats.com/

Being a Chicken is Good?

I always say that chickens are actually some of my favorite animals. Why? Because they can produce food without becoming food themselves! Now this all seems like very corny, but the fact remains that eggs are one of the only turf-borne sources of meat which are very controlled by the FDA to not be treated with antibiotics. The risk of consuming salmonella is one that is taken by those which consume eggs in their raw state. However, there are now very strict rules from the FDA which should be celebrated by all of us! Not only are conditions which inhibit the growth of bacteria constantly monitored now but growers are also required to report any sort of Salmonella which is found in their farms, in their chickens, or in their eggs. Products which have this bacteria are to be immediately removed from production! However, not all eggs are created equal. Some chickens may still be fed food which contains antibiotics.
So how do you make sure that the eggs which you are eating are being protected from not only salmonella but all other sorts of contamination? Here are the categories:
Cage free: Any eggs which are labelled as cage free usually are not raised in cages, but are on the floor such as in a barn. They are bedding materials, are allowed perches and nests, but may still also be close enough to other hens to support the transfer of bacteria.
Free Range: These hens are allowed to go from a general shelter as in the previous model, to the outside if they are so inclined. They must also have all the amenities of cage free hens. These may be much less susceptible to disease.
Organic: These hens, although they may not be able to roam free, are not given any food which is not certified organic, and not treated at any time with ANY antibiotics!
Quick Tip: Go Organic, my friends!

Source: Webmd,  http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/egg-types-benefits-facts

All Hail the Cow!

cuts of beef 
We live in a city full of great athletic potential. I, like many of our reporting students on this site are residents of the Portland area, which presents those residing with great places to hike, bike, run, climb and become the strongest version of ourselves athletically. I am a runner and cyclist personally, and complete a great many races throughout the year. One thing that all athletes know is that they need a consistent source of protein. I know a lot of individuals and fellow marathoners and triathletes which derive a lot of use from the amount of protein they are able to get in whole vegetable form without the use of meat. And their loyalty is well placed! According to PBS’s Frontline, antibiotics are not only used to preserve the health of cattle, but they also cause United States cattle to gain as much as 3% more weight than they would naturally.
I tried becoming the quintessential vegan or vegetarian athlete for a time. However, genetics are all different from person to person across the board, and every good athlete knows that all bodies require different sources of fuel and in different amounts. My body does not do very well without factoring beef. That’s right; red meat, relatively lean, sometimes ground, beef. So where does someone like me go to healthily obtain beef which is NOT treated with antibiotics or HGH?
Fortunately for us living in the Pacific Northwest, there are many options for buying meat from smaller ranchers, specialty stores and other organic sources. But what if you are somehow unable to find easy access to these sources? Never fear! Here are some guidelines for changing your sources of beef!
1.       Find out about regional food certifications
a.       Your local commercial store will only sell meat which is compliant with these laws.
2.       If you must shop at commercial stores, READ THE LABEL.
a.       Look for brands whose selling point is their use of non-treated cattle. If you need to, check up on these brands ahead of time to make sure that these sellers are actually telling you the truth.
3.       Look for brands like CSA (http://grassfedcattleco.com/packages/beef-csa/)  or Laura’s Lean Beef (http://www.laurasleanbeef.com/)
PBS Frontline: Modern Meat (1995-2013) WGBH educational foundation, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/safe/overview.html
Good Housekeeping: Looking for Hormone Free, Antibiotic-Free Beef? http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-reviews/test-kitchen-blog/hormone-free-beef

Antibiotics Get Us Well Right? When Is The Right Time To Use Antibiotics

There are many misconceptions and questions revolving antibiotics that warrant some further exploration. The other posts have clearly shown the historic misuse of antibiotics and its negative potential. The misuse in the meat industry as well as the medical industry has brought us to a delicate place where Superbugs are growing that affect everyone. So if antibiotics were made to help us where did they go wrong? 

Virus vs bacteriumThe first thing to understand is that antibiotics are not the magic cure for all types of illnesses. Antibiotics are made to work against bacteria but not viruses. Viruses and Bacteria are not the same thing and function in differing ways, for a deeper understanding of the differences form a medical expert look here.

So if I'm sick do antibiotics help? Yes and no, they can help you if you are dealing with a bacterial infection. Common bacterial infections are Tetanus, Typhoid Fever, Cholera, and many sexual transmitted infections. These are instances where it is appropriate to use antibiotics. Differing antibiotics were designed to combat these infections and as always your physician is the best available aid to such things.

What if I do not feel well and have left over antibiotics from another illness will these work? The complexity lies in the fact that each of the antibiotics is created to combat a specific bacteria. In this way one that is prescribed to combat the bacterium clostridium tetani or tetanus will not work for the bacterium mycobacteruim tuberculosis or tuberculosis. The best way to understand this is if you picture each drug prescribed as a key and the infection as the lock. To be efficient the key must match the lock. Since each drug is made for a specific infection then the keys or prescriptions are not interchangeable.

So what if I have an viral infection and not a bacterial infection? If it turns out that the source of the infection is viral and not bacterial than antibiotics can not help. Of the common viral infections like the common flu antibiotics cannot do anything. In this instance other means are needed to find wellness like rest and fluids.

From the continual misunderstanding of how to care for ourselves people often take antibiotics when they are not needed. This in turn helps to add to the larger problems of misuse of antibiotics in the meat industry as well as the medical field.  For a very concise article from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on this issue answering many more questions see here. This is a very concise source to help to clear up all of the misconceptions regarding antibiotics and when they are effective and when they are not.

Antibiotics for People, not Animals

This year, over 300 people in California got sick caused by bacteria called Salmonella Heidelberg. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believed that this kind of bacteria came from chickens that were probably injected with antibiotics. About 40% of the patients who reported their sickness have been hospitalized. In the food industry website. Based on 40 years of scientific researches, it’s been approved that using antibiotics to make food make animals grow faster and bigger but in the other hand it make them more sick cause several diseases to human. The FDA said that drug makers sold more than 30 million pounds of antibiotics in 2011 in order to use them in chickens and other food animals. In 2012, President Obama said that antibiotics should be used only for medical issue and treatment not for making animals bigger.