Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Organic Poultry Farming Cuts "Superbug" Bacteria PDQ

What happens when poultry farmers stop treating birds with antibiotics to prevent disease? Scientific American reports
Farmers can’t expect to get rid of the bacteria altogether, but by cutting down on the birds’ exposure to antibiotics, the amount of bacteria that builds up resistance is not only possible, but also quick. The first generation of poultry that was raised organically at previously conventional farms had way less of the superbug breed of bacteria. Tests of the feed, water and poultry litter showed that on 10 newly organic farms, about 17 percent of the Enterococci bacteria was resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics, whereas on 10 farms that continued to raise their birds via conventional methods with prophylactic antibiotic use, some 84 percent of the bacteria had developed multi-drug resistance.

“These findings show that, at least in the case of Enterococci, we begin to reverse resistance on farms even among the first group of animals that are grown without antibiotics,” Sapkota said. “It’s very encouraging.”

H/T: Will Falconer, Alternatives 4 Animal Health
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