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Medical News and Perspectives
November 14, 2007

Antibiotic-Resistant “Superbugs” May Be Transmitted From Animals to Humans

JAMA. 2007;298(18):2125-2126. doi:10.1001/jama.298.18.2125

Chicago—The emergence of antibiotic resistance on farms where livestock are routinely treated with antimicrobials has been well documented, but whether it poses a human health threat has been controversial. Now, a growing body of evidence suggests these “superbugs” of animal origin are being transmitted to humans.

A trio of posters presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in September highlighted evidence that resistant bacteria themselves or bits of DNA containing genes encoding drug resistance can and do cross from animals to humans. Additionally, 2 recent epidemiological studies in distinct human populations suggest that bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics on poultry farms and that these resistant bacteria are colonizing humans.

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