Sunday, March 22, 2009

Flies May Spread Drug-Resistant Bacteria from Poultry Operations

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found evidence that houseflies collected near broiler poultry operations may contribute to the dispersion of drug-resistant bacteria and thus increase the potential for human exposure to drug-resistant bacteria. The findings demonstrate another potential link between industrial food animal production and exposures to antibiotic resistant pathogens. Previous studies have linked antibiotic use in poultry production to antibiotic resistant bacteria in farm workers, consumer poultry products and the environment surrounding confined poultry operations, as well as releases from poultry transport.

“Flies are well-known vectors of disease and have been implicated in the spread of various viral and bacterial infections affecting humans, including enteric fever, cholera, salmonellosis, campylobacteriosis and shigellosis,” said lead author Jay Graham, PhD, who conducted the study as a research fellow with Bloomberg School’s Center for a Livable Future. Our study found similarities in the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in both the flies and poultry litter we sampled. The evidence is another example of the risks associated with the inadequate treatment of animal wastes.”

“Although we did not directly quantify the contribution of flies to human exposure, our results suggest that flies in intensive production areas could efficiently spread resistant organisms over large distances,” said Ellen Silbergeld, PhD, senior author of the study and professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

Graham and his colleagues collected flies and samples of poultry litter from poultry houses along the Delmarva Peninsula—a coastal region shared by Maryland, Delaware and Virginia, which has one of the highest densities of broiler chickens per acre in the United States. The analysis by the research team isolated antibiotic-resistant enterococci and staphylococci bacteria from both flies and litter. The bacteria isolated from flies had very similar resistance characteristics and resistance genes to bacteria found in the poultry litter.

Flies have ready access to both stored poultry waste and to poultry houses. A study by researchers in Denmark estimated that as many as 30,000 flies could enter a poultry house over the course of six week period.

To read the rest of the report follow this link: Flies

Here are links to other reports about this story:

Flies plus chicken droppings spread "superbugs"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Flies, already blamed for spreading disease, may help spread drug-resistant superbugs from chicken droppings, researchers reported on Monday.

They matched antibiotic-resistant enterococci and staphylococci bacteria from houseflies and the litter found in intensive poultry-farming barns in the Delmarva Peninsula region of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

The findings, reported in the journal Science of the Total Environment, may help explain some of the spread of drug-resistant bacteria.

Flies May Be Spreading Deadly, Drug-Resistant Superbug to People

Flies may be spreading a severe form of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection from bird droppings on poultry farms to people, new research suggests.

The bacteria, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA), is a so-called “superbug” that is highly resistant to most types of antibiotics. More than 90,000 serious infections and 18,000 deaths are linked to MRSA in the United States each year.

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