Web Zap*Germs Archive

July 29, 2005

FDA Bans Antibiotic in Poultry to Curb Campylobacter Resistance

The wheels of government may grind exceedingly slowly at times, but at least they are grinding:

To help prevent Campylobacter bacteria from developing resistance to an entire class of antibiotics that includes Cipro, the US FDA has ordered poultry growers to stop using Bayer's Baytril (enrofloxacin) antibiotic in turkeys and chickens by September 12, 2005. Baytril is used to fight respiratory infections in poultry.

This is the first time that the FDA has banned use of a drug in animals to prevent the infection of humans by antibiotic-resistant germs.

The WSJ commented in part:
The FDA's move highlights growing concern that animal bacteria transmitted to humans -- by means such as eating infected poultry -- may be resistant to antibiotics commonly prescribed to fight human illness. The resistant bugs can arise in animals that are given antibiotics similar to human versions.
Consumer groups applauded the FDA's announcement, which they said was an important step in the battle against resistant bacteria. The use of Baytril and similar drugs is 'eroding, in a dramatic way, the effectiveness of human-use drugs,' said Margaret Mellon, an official with the Union of Concerned Scientists. That group and others have called for the U.S. to take more steps to rein in the use of antibiotics in animals, and have backed a bill in Congress that would add restrictions.
The FDA's concern is that use of Baytril is leading to a resistant form of the bacteria Campylobacter. Campylobacter causes food-borne gastrointestinal illness, and complications from it can include arthritis and rare blood infections, the FDA said. The agency has said that since Baytril's approval in 1996, a growing proportion of Campylobacter infections in humans have proved resistant to an important class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones. Both Cipro, a popular human antibiotic, and Baytril are fluoroquinolones.


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