Pediatricians: Farm Use of Antibiotics Harms Children

In a new technical report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) argues that unnecessary use of antibiotics in livestock is fueling drug-resistant, life-threatening infections in humans, particularly young children. The report, published Monday in Pediatrics, recommends limiting the use of antibiotics on farms.

Source: Pediatricians say farm use of antibiotics harms children

There are very definitive studies that show that animals fatten more quickly and to larger final sizes with low level antibiotics. That’s why companies that sell meat and poultry are willing to spend the money on it.  And we’ve seen a similar effect of weight gain on children who take antibiotics

Antibody-Antibiotic Superdrug Triumphs over MRSA Superbug in Mice

By latching onto bacteria and detonating at just the right moment, a new drug could help take out the leading cause of bacterial infections in humans worldwide.

The drug, a deadly combo of an antibody glued to an antibiotic, specifically seeks and destroys Staphylococcus aureus—even the difficult-to-kill, drug-resistant variety, methicillin-resistant staph (MRSA). In mice infected with MRSA, the dynamic duo fought off the infection better than the standard antibiotic treatment of vancomycin, researchers report in Nature. If the findings hold true in humans, the new superdrug could vastly improve the success rate of MRSA infection treatments, which currently fail about 50 percent of the time.

…But, for now, there are no guarantees that the superdrug will be that effective in human patients. Researchers point out that the human immune system may produce competing antibodies that bind to staph, possibly elbowing out the superdrug.

Source: Antibody-antibiotic superdrug triumphs over MRSA superbug in mice

The article (and the paper its based on) overstates things and make this much more alarmist than it should be.  MRSA infection treatments do not “currently fail about 50 percent of the time.” MOST MRSA infections are readily treatable and cureable. There are a few difficult to treat exceptions that are much more difficult to treat (endocarditis, osteomyelitis, necrotizing soft tissue infections) that have higher failure rates.

As for the actual bacteria, methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus is absolutely resistant to an entire class of antibiotics (beta-lactam antibiotics) because the bacteria has an altered protein that no longer binds the active site of these antibiotics. So we have to use different classes of antibiotics for treatment (such as vancomycin, linezolid, daptomycin). It does also happen to have a way to hide inside phagocytic cell thereby avoiding the immune system and our antibiotics. This has been known for a long time.

This is an interesting proof of concept study. They definitely need to do some more comparisons. They’re using a class of medications as the “antibody-linked antibiotic”, rifamycins, that is well known to penetrate spaces like lysosomes and biofilms. They compared it against antibiotics that have a much harder time doing this (glycopeptides ect). So a better comparison would be rifampin vs this targeted rifalogue. It could be a very elegant way of targeting deep-seated difficult to treat infections however.

Just One Fix: How to Know When You Actually Need Antibiotics

Antibiotics are strong medicines that can kill bacteria. But we have overused antibiotics for many years. As a result, we now have bacteria that resist antibiotics. Resistant bacteria cause infections that are harder to cure and more costly to treat.

Antibiotic-resistant infections can strike anyone. They can be passed on to others. For example, more and more healthy young people are getting skin infections from MRSA, a bacteria that resists many common antibiotics. MRSA is spreading in households, daycare, schools, camps, dorms, gyms, team sports, and the military.

Try to protect yourself and your loved ones. Here’s what you need to know to help prevent resistance:

Source: Antibiotics: When you need them—and when you don’t

The CDC provides similar information for adults, but more detail.  Reducing antibiotic prescribing is something that requires awareness from both doctors and patients.

No, it's not a tumour!

Maybe it’s a tumour?