Stopping the Spread of “Superbugs”

grview-38939-1SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Stopping the spread of “superbugs,” or antibiotic-resistant bacteria, is the goal of new legislation introduced at the state Capitol.The bill would ban the “non-therapeutic” use of antibiotics in livestock in California, meaning the medicines couldn’t be used to speed up animal growth. Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, said resistance to antibiotics is an increasingly serious problem.

“The use of antibiotics in animals results in reservoirs of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that then spread through the food supply and environment, and can be transmitted to humans,” he said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recommended limitations on the use of antibiotics in livestock, but Mullin said that doesn’t go far enough. His bill also would require meat companies to provide greater transparency about their exact antibiotic use.

Eighty percent of all antibiotics in the United States are sold for use in livestock. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 million people in the United States contract infections that are resistant to antibiotics every year, and at least 23,000 people die as a result.

“AB 1437 will help protect the effectiveness of life-saving antibiotics for human medicine,” Mullin said, “and will help reduce the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

Avinash Kar, a health attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the bill follows the science and takes important steps to protect public health and preserve the effectiveness of essential human medicines.

“We are looking at longer illnesses, more hospitalizations, the use of antibiotics with greater side effects, and even death when treatments fail,” Kar said.

The Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged this health threat for nearly four decades but has refused to take meaningful regulatory action, Kar said.

More informaiton on AB 1437 is online at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

– See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-04-23/health-issues/stopping-the-spread-of-superbugs/a38939-1#sthash.2BMt8JBI.dpuf


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