Wired examines the economy of our antibiotic culture:
Two weeks ago, I broke the news of a new FDA report that estimated for the first time the amount of antibiotics sold in the United States every year for use in agriculture: 28.8 million pounds.
That long-awaited report didn’t answer a crucial question: What volume of antibiotics are sold in the United States each year for human use. It’s a crucial question because, in answer to concerns about antibiotic resistance arising on farms, the answer has always been that human medicine is equally culpable because it uses similar volumes of antibiotics.
The proportion of antibiotics sold in the United States each year that go to animals turns out to be not 70 percent, but rather 80 percent.
Most important to note: Most of the drugs used in animal agriculture and in human medicine are functionally identical. That’s one reason why the overuse of antibiotics in animals is such a concern: When organisms become resistant on the farm to drugs used on livestock, they are becoming resistant to the exact same drugs used in humans.
Worried about drug-resistant staph infections? Eye infections? Sinusitis? Maybe you should be. More data available at the CLF blog.