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Overdosing On Antibiotics: Is Help On The Way?

This article is more than 12 years old.
The FDA is poised to impose regulations on antibiotic use in farm animals
The FDA is poised to impose regulations on antibiotic use in farm animals

The New York Times reports that the F.D.A is preparing to impose greater regulations on farms that routinely dose healthy animals with antibiotics:

Dispensing antibiotics to healthy animals is routine on the large, concentrated farms that now dominate American agriculture. But the practice is increasingly condemned by medical experts who say it contributes to a growing scourge of modern medicine: the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including dangerous E. coli strains that account for millions of bladder infections each year, as well as resistant types of salmonella and other microbes.

Now, after decades of debate, the Food and Drug Administration appears poised to issue its strongest regulations on antibiotics yet, intended to reduce what it calls a clear risk to human health. They would end farm uses of the drugs simply to promote faster animal growth and call for tighter oversight by veterinarians.

And The Associated Press reports on a new study that shows antibiotic use in humans can profoundly alter good bacteria in the gut that could lead to future health problems.

...the finding is the latest in a flurry of research raising questions about how the customized bacterial zoo that thrives in our intestines forms — and whether the wrong type or amount plays a role in ailments from obesity to inflammatory bowel disease to asthma.

This program aired on September 15, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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