Human Contraction of Anti-biotic Resistant Diseases Linked to Antibiotic Use on Pig Farms

Photo Credit: Evelyn Simak Photo Credit: Evelyn Simak

A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that antibiotic use on pig farms can lead to human infection with anti-biotic resistant bacteria.  The study looked at infection rates in Pennsylvania in areas near conventional pig farms, to determine if antibiotic resistant bacteria, specifically methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), were being transferred from pigs to humans.  They found that people who were exposed to conventional pig farms or manure were 30% - 38% more likely to get MRSA than individuals who were not exposed to conventional pig farms.  This study suggests that not only is antibiotic resistance developing on conventional animal farms in response to their overuse of antibiotics, but also that the bacteria can spread to humans.  Many researchers are now calling for a halt to the prophylactic use of antibiotics in agriculture, because it can lead to human health hazards.