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Antibiotics in animal feed create 'fatal' superbugs

London , Thu, 23 Feb 2012 ANI

London, Feb 23 (ANI): Giving antibiotics to livestock can have dire consequences for farmers' health, a new study has claimed.


A strain of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSRA) that causes skin infections and sepsis in farm workers evolved its resistance to antibiotics inside farm animals, New Scientist reported.


MSRA is a type of staph bacteria that does not respond to some antibiotics that are commonly used to treat staph infections.


The ST398 strain of MRSA, which first appeared in 2003, is prevalent in US livestock.


Humans who pick it up from animals can become seriously ill, but it cannot spread from one human to another yet.


A team of researchers led by Paul Keim from the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, sequenced the genomes of 88 closely related strains of Staphylococcus aureus, the bug that can become MRSA.


According to their findings, ST398 was originally a harmless strain living in humans, which migrated into livestock where it acquired antibiotic resistance.


Ross Fitzgerald from the University of Edinburgh, UK, said that for some time microbiologists have been concerned that giving large amounts of antibiotics to livestock can promote antibiotic resistance and Keim's study provides a powerful example. (ANI)


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