Antibiotics in Food – Stopping the Rise of Superbugs

The Allen School Online blog has long covered the subject of MRSA and other so-called “superbugs” which are virulent strains of pathogens highly resistant to antibiotic treatment.  The long suspected culprit behind the rise of MRSA and other superbugs is the abuse of antibiotics by agri-business which continues to routinely include antibiotics in the feed used on poultry, cattle and hog farms.  The overuse of antibiotics is thought to promote the mutation of bacteria as all but the most resistant strains are eliminated.  Unfortunately, farm lobbies have effectively thwarted any attempts to regulate or eliminate this dangerous practice.  However, the public is ahead of Congress (as usual) in their support for such regulations.  Follow over the fold for some truly terrifying data.  Continue reading…

Drug Resistant Bacteria and Food Production

This blog frequently covers MRSA and other drug resistant pathogens that have been increasingly threatening populations globally.  Today, we learned of the rise of a drug resistant strain of Salmonella as the news of the recall of millions of pounds of ground turkey made the rounds in the media.  We have pointed to this cause before and I think it is safe to assume again that the level of antibiotics used by agri-business to mask the effects of negligent animal husbandry practices likely contributes to the evolution of these “super germs”.

Got MRSA?

According to a Reuter’s article, scientists have found Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aurelius in raw milk samples in the US and UK.  The superbug has been growing in prevalence and represents a significant challenge to medicine because it is an infection that, as the name implies, is resistant to antibiotics.  Concurrent to this story is the outbreak of a new strain of E. Coli across Europe.  It would seem to this blogger that both these outbreaks are rooted, at least in part, in the practices of large corporate food producers and the sometimes shoddy agricultural processes in which they engage.  Read these past posts, here, here and here for more information on both MRSA and animal husbandry/food safety.

The Intersection of Web and Medicine

AS regular readers of this blog know, we have been covering stories about MRSA, the antibiotic resistant staph infection.  Just recently, we published a post about the finding of MRSA carried in bedbugs (yechhh!).  In all the stories we’ve produced about MRSA, the news is always pretty grim so that’s why I was pleased to find the story linked here.  Evidently, it seems that occurrences of MRSA are able to be accurately tracked using none other than Google!  Yes, researchers have studied and found that spikes in Google searched for MRSA are directly correlated to actual outbreaks.  This innovative usage of Google clearly illustrates the nexus between the web and epidemiological research.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will surely make good use of this new tool in their arsenal.  Allen School Online students already understand the synergies between internet technology and the study of medically related fields.

Scary Medical Story of the Day

Researchers in British Columbia, Canada, have found MRSA infected bedbugs.  MRSA is an anti-biotic resistant staff infection which this blog has covered before here and here.  The researchers found that in impoverished communities (like homeless populations living in close quarters in shelters and residential hotels for) harbor conditions for bedbugs to carry MRSA.  They found several dangerous strains of the infection in bedbug samples they collected.There is, according to the scientists in this article on the story, no imminent danger of this development being a vector for widespread transmission of MRSA.  However, it is always important to keep an eye on diseases with such potential to spread, unchecked through the global population.

MRSA: A Day at the Beach?

beach_closedA few months ago, I wrote a post about the spread of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, an antibiotic resistant pathogen.  The probable result of over use of penicillin in humans and in factory farm animals, this devastating illness was rarely contracted outside of hospitals.  But alarming and newly released studies show the presence of MRSA on US beaches – in the water and in the sand!  Perhaps a result of offshore dumping of medical waste, this is a disturbing development.  Especially as this blogger prepares to spend a week’s vacation at the beach!  More details on this story and some positive developments too, after the jump. Continue reading…