CBS Airs First Segment, “Animal Antibiotic Overuse Hurting Humans?”

Watch CBS News Videos OnlineIn the first installment of a two-part series, CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric investigates the connection between the use of antibiotics in factory farms and the incidence of MRSA in humans. Couric talks to a worker at an Arkansas poultry processing facility who developed MRSA; discusses the use overuse of antibiotics on the farm with Shelley Hearne, managing director of the Pew Health Group at The Pew Charitable Trusts; and tells viewers about a University of Iowa study, which found a new strain of MRSA — in nearly three-quarters of hogs (70%), and nearly two-thirds of the workers (64%) — on several farms in Iowa and Western Illinois. All of them use antibiotics, routinely. On antibiotic-free farms no MRSA was found. Couric also talks with Iowa hog farmer Dave Kronlage who admits he uses antibiotics to accelerate growth and fend off disease. The CBS web site contains the expected statements from the National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Tomorrow night CBS Evening News will feature part two of the series, which focuses on Denmark’s ban on antibiotic use.

Study Connects MRSA in Swine and Swine Workers

A new study published by the University of Iowa connects Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Midwestern US swine farms and swine workers and suggests transmission between the two. Prior to the study, there was only knowledge of the prevalence of this bacterium in locations including the Netherlands and Canada. MRSA is resistant to a wide array of antibiotics, and this University of Iowa study linked MRSA with an estimated 94,000 infections and over 18,000 deaths in the United States in 2005, based on data taken from several metropolitan areas. Read More >