The American Academy of Pediatrics published a new technical paper online yesterday: “Nontherapeutic Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Animal Agriculture: Implications for Pediatrics”. The paper will appear in the December 2015 print issue of Pediatrics.
The report provides a literature summary which generally concludes that: a) while antibiotic overuse in human medicine remains a problem, the overuse is more prevalent in agriculture; b) routine use of antibiotics on farm animals selects for antibiotic resistant bacteria; c) these pathogens can migrate to the human population through numerous pathways; d) this is a serious public health threat; and e) the Federal Government’s response to date contains both good initial steps and troubling gaps.
The report also includes data about the negative impact that antibiotic resistant infections have on children under the age of 5. The data reminds me of Grants Pass resident Jennifer Zammetti’s moving testimony about her infant granddaughter’s terrifying penicillin resistant infection (Ariel is doing fine, thank goodness). Jennifer shared her story with a panel of state lawmakers, who ultimately voted to advance legislation to curtail antibiotics overuse on Oregon farm animals. Legislative leaders, unfortunately, refused to allow the bill to advance further and the proposal died. Powerful lobbyists for the some of the state's biggest factory farms pused hard to defeat the proposal.
I am interested in hearing other Oregonian's thoughts and analysis of the paper, and the implications for future action by Oregon leaders.