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The use of antibiotics critical to human medicine in food-producing animals in Taiwan

Lawrence Clifford McDonald, Ming-Tsao Chen, Tsai-Ling Lauderdale, Monto Ho
Division of Clinical Research, National Health Research Institutes, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

There are increasing public health concerns about antibiotics used in food-producing animals that may contribute to the development of resistance in human pathogens. Such resistance may be critical to human medicine when resistance develops to drugs that treat certain pathogens of which there is no good alternative therapy. We surveyed 10 farms, eight feed mills, and one animal drug distributor in Taiwan to determine the major antibiotics used in food-producing animals, and the extent of use of five drugs that may select for resistance to antibiotics that are critical for human medicine. The five animal drugs, and the resistance of human drug/class they may select for, included avoparcin (vancomycin/glycopeptides), avilomycin (ziracin/envirninomycins), enrofloxacin (ciprofloxacin/fluoroquinolones), virginiamycin (quinupristin and dalfopristin combination/streptogramins), and kanamycin (gentamicin/aminoglycosides). Tetracyclines were the class of antibiotic that was most widely used in the greatest amounts. Over the past 12 months, the number of farms, chicken feed mills, and pig feed mills, that have respectively reported the use of avoparcin was 1 (10%), 5 (63%), 0; avilomycin 0, 0, 3 (50%); enrofloxacin 4 (40%), 1 (13%), 3 (50%); virginiamycin 2 (20%), 5 (63%), 0; and kanamycin 3 (30%), 1 (13%), 1 (17%). We conclude that although the most commonly used antibiotics (ie tetracyclines) have little effect on human medicine, there is a widespread use of antibiotics that may select for critical forms of resistance in human pathogens in food-producing animals.

J Microbiol Immunol Infect 2001;34:97-102.

[Full Article in PDF]

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