How antibiotics in animal feed can harm children
Antibiotics are compounds with antimicrobial activity that helps in treating and preventing diseases.
They also serve the purpose of constituting growth and development to the livestock.
Antibiotic substances like procaine penicillin, oxytetracycline, tylosin etc. are introduced in animal feed
to make the livestock healthier. These chemical substances can fatten animals, causing the livestock to
gain weight so that more kilograms of meat can be sold to the market. Antibiotics also help in limiting
the spread of infection or diseases among animals. However, the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed is
making it difficult for doctors to treat life-threatening infections in children.
The report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) points out that the boundless act of offering
antimicrobials to healthy domesticated animals to advance development and disease resistance among
them is making the medications ineffective when they are in need to treat diseases in people, especially
the children. Children under 5 are prone to risk, particularly kids with low immunity and those who have
undergone bone marrow transfers, or organ transfers. Children in the clinic for injury and other serious
issues can be more in danger, as well.
In the year 2013, an American report showing a total of 19056 infected cases, 4200 hospitalizations, and
80 deaths were presented to the Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, a CDC surveillance
system (a system that analyses and interprets health conditions), covering 15% of the US population.
Nontyphoidal Salmonella species of bacteria is a significant cause of foodborne illness in children. This
species can cause neonatal and pediatric infections through indirect exposure to contaminated food.
Children may acquire salmonella infection through direct contact with the cattle.
Campylobacter is another species of bacteria which causes foodborne illness in children. They can cause
health effects that arise due to eating poultry or non-poultry meat products and unpasteurized dairy
products. Exposure to sewage water and farm animals infected with this bacteria may also cause
infections in infants and children.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacterium (MRSA) is another kind that causes infections in
various parts of our body. These species can transmit from animals to human beings through close
Antibiotic resistance is becoming a major problem among the kids as well as adults. The use of antibiotic
drugs to feed healthy animals for prolonged periods can create new health dangers to humans. Food
processing workers may add antibiotic agents in the feed of cattle or other food delivering animals just
to treat and control irresistible illnesses and not for development or growth. Approximately 80% of the
overall tonnage of antimicrobial agents sold in the United States, a few years ago was for animal use,
and almost 60% of those agents are essential for human medicine.
The antibiotics fed to the cattle lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the animal. These
microorganisms can then be spread to human beings when we consume animal food. Adequate cooking
of animal meat might destroy the antibiotic-resistant bacteria. However, there are still chances for
transferring these microorganisms into your body. These organisms can also enter into a human body
through direct contact with an animal carrying the organism. People working in farms, processing
facilities etc. are more prone to these bacteria than the general population.
So, while choosing the feed for your cattle, it is best suggested to pick organic feed or food raised