How Your Chicken Dinner Is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug

Research report reveals a link between bladder infections and the overuse of antibiotics in chickens.


| July 11, 2012



chicken head

A small group of researchers in several countries contends there is persuasive evidence that the newly resistant E. coli bacteria are coming from poultry.


PHOTO: DUNDANIM/FOTOLIA.COM

The following article is posted with permission from the Food & Environment Reporting Network

Adrienne LeBeouf recognized the symptoms when they started. The burning and the urge to head to the bathroom signaled a urinary tract infection, a painful but everyday annoyance that afflicts up to 8 million U.S. women a year. LeBeouf, who is 29 and works as a medical assistant, headed to her doctor, assuming that a quick course of antibiotics would send the UTI on its way.

That was two years ago, and LeBeouf has suffered recurring bouts of cystitis ever since. She is one of a growing number of women, and some men, who have unknowingly become infected with antibiotic-resistant versions of E. coli, the ubiquitous intestinal bacterium that is the usual cause of UTIs.

There is no national registry for drug-resistant infections, and so no one can say for sure how many resistant UTIs there are. But they have become so common that last year the specialty society for infectious-disease physicians had to revise its recommendations for which drugs to prescribe for cystitis — and many infectious-disease physicians and gynecologists say informally that they see such infections every week.

Dr. Jehan El-Bayoumi, LeBeouf’s physician and an associate professor of medicine at George Washington University Medical Center, said she has seen “a really significant increase, especially within the past two to three years.”

But the origin of these newly resistant E. coli has been a mystery — except to a small group of researchers in several countries. They contend there is persuasive evidence that the bacteria are coming from poultry. More precisely, coming from poultry raised with the routine use of antibiotics, which takes in most of the 8.6 billion chickens raised for meat in the U.S. each year.

brianna hernandez
7/17/2012 8:53:11 AM

This is just one of the problems with poultry. E.coli isn't anything to sneeze at and UTI's are just one step of the never ending cycle of poultry. With some poultry farms force feeling with growth hormones, we as consumers need to have the entire scoop of what is really being forces fed into these animals. Could these growth hormones effect those who eat the poultry?? And could this be one of the reasons that people today are obese?? What effects are these growth hormones having on us??? We eat the poultry for a better diet, and yet many people gain weight while eating poultry. It makes sense to me that these growth hormones that they force feed the poultry is having a negative effect on our health. These practices need to be stopped and let nature take back what is hers. There may be a demand for poultry in the United States, but at what cost?? How many people have to die before actions are taken.






mother earth news fair

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!

LEARN MORE