In Britain’s poultry farming the use of an antibiotic that is important for humans has risen by 59 percent. This is shown by an investigatioton by the non-profit bureau TBIJ in London. CORRECTIV cooperates with TBIJ in its report about resistant germs.
It is well-known that the use of antibiotics in animal feed produces resistant germs on the long run. These germs could possibly infest humans as well. This is why those responsible are eager to use as few antibiotics in farming as possible – also in Britain. According to our colleagues from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism the use of antibiotics in poultry farming indeed decreased by roughly 30 percent during the years 2013 and 2014. However, these numbers are not valid for all antibiotics. The use of for humans extremely important Fluorquinolones, of all antibiotics, increased by 59 percent.
In Germany, the same process can be observed: New regulations should reduce the total consumption. This why the use of highly potent substances, that already have an effect in low concentration, rises. These substances, however, are, like Fluorquinolones, extremely important to human medicine. The WHO keeps this medicine on a list of “critically important antibiotics“.
The increased use of Fluorquinolones is worrying, as these antibiotics belong to a group of substances reserved for the „last defence“. They should help when no other medicine takes effect anymore. Their advantage is, in contrast to comparable preparations, that they can be taken orally. They are able, alongside other scopes, to save people’s lives when they are infected with E.coli, which causes diarrhoea. Or with salmonellas and campylobacter. These germs are particularly transferred when people eat contaminated meat. Also, they can be transferred when people do not wash their hands after they touched raw meat in the kitchen. Or when they cut tomatoes and chicken with the same knife.
There are hints indicating that antibiotic resistances are able to jump from animal germs to germs that infect humans. This means: resistances that are bred among animals will affect humans on the long run.
As a consequence, the association „Alliance to save our Antibiotics“ demands a ban of Fluorquinolones in poultry farming. The USA already banned its use for farming in 2005.