"Cows on Drugs" — a superb history of the 30-year-old fight to get unnecessary antibiotics out of food animals. Note, written by a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, not exactly a wild-eyed radical:
More than 30 years ago, when I was commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, we proposed eliminating the use of penicillin and two other antibiotics to promote growth in animals raised for food. When agribusiness interests persuaded Congress not to approve that regulation, we saw firsthand how strong politics can trump wise policy and good science.Even back then, this nontherapeutic use of antibiotics was being linked to the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that infect humans. To the leading microbiologists on the F.D.A.’s advisory committee, it was clearly a very bad idea to fatten animals with the same antibiotics used to treat people. But the American Meat Institute and its lobbyists in Washington blocked the F.D.A. proposal.Antibiotic resistance in your kitchen, playroom, car... — After years of begging from health advocates, the FDA and EPA are taking a second look at the chemical compound triclosan, an antibacterial that is put into, well, almost anything you can name: soaps, hand sanitizers, cutting boards, toys. Triclosan is suspected of interfering with hormone regulation in the body, and also increases resistance in organisms in our environment. (When I ask you to use hand sanitizers that contain only alcohol or salts, not antibacterials, triclosan is one of the things I'm thinking of.) The FDA will report its findings in a year. I'd rather see it happen sooner, but it's a great move.
No progress on hospital-acquired infections — The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, has published its 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report. The news is not good. To quote the agency's own language: "Very little progress has been made on eliminating health care-associated infections." This is all hospital-acquired infections, not just MRSA, but MRSA is a leading organism. The ugly details:
- Post-operative bloodstream infections up 8%
- Post-operative catheter-associated urinary-tract infections up 3.6%
- "Selected infections due to medical care" up by 1.6%
- Bloodstream infections as a result of central lines unchanged.
Great stuff, Maryn. I have been trying to understand the methodology of the AHRQ report -- do you know if this is done via administrative coding (given some of the databases they used, e.g., HCUP, it looks like it) or reporting by hospitals or surveillance in the NHSN hospitals? I read the report and still cannot tell, and the methodology is critical to determine how valid the results are.
Thanks for any info you may have on this.
Thanks for keeping the info coming, Maryn, especially with your busy schedule with the new book.
You're right, I need to look at this! But will be too blocked up for the next few days to do so. Will try to investigate and get back.
I'm an ardent follower of your blog and I find your work very interesting.
I was wondering would be possible for us to exchange links in our blogs or news feeds.
If it's ok with please let me know. Thanx
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