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Is that there are food-borne Infections which are basically gut bacteria from animals that reach us as a result of the animals being taken apart and made into meet right so these the the Food borne bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter and should gala reside in the animals Gods. And when we disassemble those animals though but good content , so get on the meat and then travel to us when we give animals , Antibiotics , they go into the animals’ guts they make some of those bacteria resistant and then the end result is antibiotic resistant food-borne illness that can be distributed . You know , hundreds and thousands of miles away from where the original farms are in in one outbreak that I described in this book . More than 600 people were made sick by drug resistant salmonella in 30 states and territories in an outbreak that covered more than 12 months .
And as you say in the book , we usually blame like the kitchen of the restaurant for sloppy hygiene that results in Food poisoning. But you’re saying it’s sometimes the animals themselves .
Right. The animals or the production processes that cause the animals to be raised in the way that they were that as they’re given Antibiotics they become sort of little the factories for though production and distribution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria , and that leads to some of the , the sort of . But the kinds of Infections that people don’t make such an intuitive leap to understanding which is to say that they’re not just Food borne Illnesses coming immediately from exposure to the meat but rather that as that process of resistant bacteria in the animals’ guts is happening . Some of those resistant bacteria leave the animals as manure while the animals are still alive and then go into the farm environment and get washed away by storm water or go into groundwater or blow away as dust on the window leave on the feet of rodents and insects and those resistant bacteria widely disseminated through the environment in a way that has no obvious chain of evidence , back to the farm where they originated .
So my understanding this correctly that you can come in contact with resistant bacteria that emanates from chickens that have been fed or livestock that have been fed a lot of Antibiotics and they develop immunity bacteria in their gut and some of that comes out in the menorah and then the menorah can spread it to a wider area , how does the menorah spread it spread the resistant bacteria.
So if you think of any photograph you may ever have seen of a very very large livestock farm there’s likely to be either a pile of manure dried manure in the case of a chicken farm or a liquid lagoon of manure in a case of a pig farm or a cattle feed lot so they were resistant bacteria in that manure and a variety of things can happen. Possibly . You know a storm that may come and storm water runoff me why should those bacteria out into other water systems or rinse them down into the ground water or the surface of the moon manure may dry out and dust me carry those bacteria off on the wind or the feet of insects and rodents may carry those bacteria away there even are some cases on record of farm workers themselves unknowingly picking up that dust and those bacteria and taking them to their homes on their uniforms or on their skin .
So how , how often do. Scientists think that this happens that that bacteria is passed along not just through the meat but through dust or through the water through clothing .
Right now I think it’s quite hard to predict the probability. And the reason for that is because we don’t have good data about the degree to which bacteria are traveling off farms because there’s no one who’s standing at the perimeter of farms either you know measuring the air or measuring the groundwater or even on a very regular basis , measuring the animals themselves checking them to see how frequently they are harboring resistant bacteria . There’s been a push for a number of years to get better data on farms and federal authorities just have not been able to get there haven’t been able to get on 2 farms to check animals routinely so the data that we have that predicts the probability is all when individual academic researchers have checked you know insects around very large farms or residents around very large farms are kids in daycare in the towns that are near very large farms and when they check they find these bacteria but but is it routine . The data gathering isn’t routine to prove it .
Well , I think that really astonished me in your book , is that some Infections that you wouldn’t think have anything to do with chickens might have something to do with chickens like utilize urinary tract infections. What is the connection between you and resistant bacteria from chickens are livestock .
This is one of the stories that really astonished me as well , and it’s an emerging area of research. There are just a few researchers that have been working on this for more than a decade now elucidate in this connection . So we talked a minute ago about how sort of the , that the process of an antibiotic resistant food-borne illness is that that starts this bacteria in the animals’ guts that bacteria contaminates their meat we eat the meat and then we developed that the Food borne Illnesses that were fairly used to but they happen to be antibiotic resistance . Well sometimes we take in those resistant bacteria and nothing immediately happens they become part of our gut microbiome part of that community of bacteria that lives in our guts quiescent Lee but then and this is particularly true for women because of our anatomy sometimes those resistant bacteria get out of our digestive systems and traveled the short distance to our urinary systems and then it feels just like a regular duty I and so a woman goes to her doctor and says , I have a Urinary Tract Infection and the doctor will give her one of those standards set of Antibiotics that are prescribed by medicine and nothing happens , and and in other words , the antibiotic doesn’t work because the Infections resistant but because so many people get you to your eyes so often 60 million utilize in women in the United States every year that woman might go back to her doctor and the doctor will presume that she’s been reinfected as opposed to the UT I never having been cured at all . The reason why this is such a problem is that in an un-treated you ti gets worse and it can climb up the urinary system into the kidneys cause a kidney infection , the kidneys are a kind of back door to the circulatory system . So if the bacteria propagate through them , then you’re looking at a bloodstream infection , Infections and other Organ Systems even Septic Shock which can be deadly all tracing back to antibiotic use on farms and one pretty good estimate now is that of those 6 to 8 million .
You UT that occur in women every year in the United States possibly 10% could be Food borne UT ice could be due to this antibiotic resistant bacteria traveling from farms , which means 600 to 800,000 cases a year in this country. That’s a massive public health burden a really important problem that’s just been sort of hiding in plain sight .
So are we running out of treatments for instance for you to you guys.
We are in fact one of them background conditions that makes this problem of using Antibiotics routinely in farm animals , so problematic is that we’re running out of Antibiotics , generally the backdrop to the rise in antibiotic resistance around the world is that Pharmaceutical companies have gotten tired of making Antibiotics and having their power taken away by the rapid development of resistance of , if you look at the , the number of drugs that have been licensed by the FDA. Over the past couple of decades . There’s a really sharp drop-off in antibiotic so as if you , if you think of the rise of antibiotic resistance as a kind of game of leapfrog between bugs and drugs over the decades the bugs have leapt ahead because we have no new drugs to block their advance and that is true for the very serious Infections that can arise in someone from something that starts as a resistant you ti as it is for other drug resistant Infections , too .
Let reintroduce introduce you hear my guess is Aaron McKenna , she’s the of the new book big chicken. The story of how Antibiotics created modern agriculture and change the way the world eats . She’s also the of an earlier book about antibiotic resistant bacteria . We will take a short break , then we’ll be right back . This is fresh air .
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This is fresh air and if you’re just joining us my guest as McKenna , she’s a Journalist who specializes in Public Health and Food Policy. Her new book big chicken is about the use of Antibiotics in the chicken industry and how that’s led to antibiotic-resistant bacteria .