Antibiotics Put Livestock Farmers, Neighbors at Risk for MRSA
Harrisburg, NC — Studies have shown that farmworkers, as well as those living in areas surrounding livestock farms, are at high risk of contracting Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA. The studies, some say, are a likely impetus behind the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) request of drug companies to voluntarily restrict access to antibiotics to farmers. Clearstream, LLC, a diversified provider of environmentally-friendly antimicrobial products and services, says that the FDA’s oversight is only the first step in containing the public health threat presented by MRSA infections. Clearstream maintains that if restrictions on the use of antibiotics are formally imposed on livestock growers, advanced sanitization technology, long-term antimicrobial surface and facility treatments, and increased hygiene methods are an essential supplement to the control and reduction of the spread of MRSA and other resistant bacterial and viral strains.
The FDA recently appealed to pharmaceutical companies and requested that they restrict farmers’ access to antibiotics in an effort to reduce the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including the super-bug MRSA. The agency credits some of the growth of bacteria to the overuse of antibiotics on industrial farms, which it says poses a major threat to the treatment of human infections. (1) John Hopkins University reported a connection between factory farms and MRSA, and found an “environmental pathway” that MRSA follows in communities near high-density swine-production facilities. (2) The study implicates the overuse of antibiotics in industrial-farmed animals as being a risk factor for MRSA:
● Animals are given “subtherapeutic” amounts of antibiotics in their feed and water supply to stave off illness, rather than to treat acute infections. The majority of the antibiotics given to these animals is not absorbed, and instead passes through to the animals’ manure.
● That manure is then applied to crop fields as fertilizer, presenting a greater risk of community-associated MRSA and skin and soft-tissue infections for neighboring residential communities. (3)
According to Clearstream CEO Jim Praechtl, antibiotics were designed to treat infections in livestock or to protect them from unsanitary conditions, but farmers soon recognized the drugs’ ability to accelerate animal growth, thereby increasing the farmers’ profits. The resulting overuse allowed bacteria to adapt to their environment, become resistant to the antibiotics, and continue to survive, per Praechtl, who warns that unless action is taken soon, the bacteria will likely follow a similar trajectory in the community.
“The more we use antibiotics, the less effective they become. If we continue at our current pace, bacteria will continue to evolve and will eventually outpace our ability to treat even simple infections in humans,” said Praechtl. “Antibiotics should only be used when disease or infection is present and as historical data has shown, the use of antibiotics as a prophylactic should continue to be discouraged.”
In a case study done by mPact, Clearstream’s service division partner, they reduced bacterial populations in poultry houses and improved all of the parameters used by poultry companies to determine profitability, meaning that the cost of application could be justified by increases in productivity. mPact reduced the bacterial counts on treated ceiling and metals surfaces by 100 percent, wood surfaces by over 99 percent, and plastic surfaces by nearly 87 percent. In addition, the health of the animals drastically improved and increased the farmer’s profitability:
● The number of chickens that could be sold increased by 137 per house;
● The weight sold per grow-out house was increased by 2,495 lbs. average; and
● Weight per bird increased by 0.04 lbs. per chicken, while percent livability increased by 0.15%.
Clearstream’s two-step protection plan has been utilized by several industries, ranging from professional sports teams to healthcare facilities, in an effort to control the spread of infectious diseases through a process which essentially negates the use of antibiotics for any other reason than treating infections or disease:
1. mPerial® Detergent/Disinfectant provides sanitization and disinfection which eliminate a broad spectrum of bacteria, fungi and viruses, and is proven effective against, but not limited to, Norovirus (Norwalk virus), MRSA, HIV‑1, and Vancomycin-intermediate and Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA). mPerial, with its grime-removing and disinfecting properties, is the first step in the mPact protocol.
2. mPale® Antimicrobial with ÆGIS Microbe Shield is a long-term biostatic surface protection technology that renders offending microbes inactive, while doing so safely for people and animals. Its unique design allows the formula to bond with virtually all surfaces, and provides non-leaching, non-toxic and environmentally-safe long-term protection.
“We strived to develop a line of products that not only protect the health of the public, but also improves their daily lives by providing the most bacteria‑ and maintenance-free environment possible,” stated Tony Daddona, Clearstream COO.
Clearstream offers a wide range of EPA-registered and FDA-approved products and services dedicated to reducing cross-contamination by harmful bacteria and viruses on protected surfaces.
For more information about Clearstream’s products and services, visit www.thinkclearstream.com.