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Big takeaways from World Antibiotic Awareness Week!

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Antibiotics are integral to life as we know it, and due to misuse and overuse we face the very real threat that in the near future they will no longer work. Soon infections that are now easily treatable could become life threatening, and already, antibiotic resistance is the third leading cause of death worldwide. Join us this week as we share ways you can get involved and keep these life saving medicines working. It’s super easy to join our fight to protect antibiotics , just share the word with your network! You can add this post to your story, talk with your friends about world antibiotic awareness week, and follow us to learn more.

quote in text “When I woke up just after dawn on September 28, 1928, I certainly didn’t plan to revolutionize all medicine by discovering the world’s first antibiotic, or bacteria killer. But I guess that is exactly what I did.” - Alexander Fleming

Without antibiotics, medical care as we know it is impossible. Cancer treatment, transplants, and any surgeries, all rely on antibiotics. Without antibiotics infections such as UTI’s become more dangerous and difficult to treat. All bacterial infections can become  more dangerous without antibiotics. When Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, Penicillin, in 1928, medicine was changed forever. In the 1940’s Penicillin was dubbed a “miracle drug” as millions of soldiers injured in World War II were saved from dying of infection. 

Sadly, we have not protected these medicines. 65% of medically important antibiotics are sold for use in food animal production to compensate for overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions, contributing to antibiotic resistance. Far too often, formerly treatable infections are becoming deadly. New antibiotics are expensive and time consuming to create, so we must  protect the ones we have. 

Share the word! One easy way you can help protect antibiotics is practice good food handling at home. Check out this blog post for food safety tips! 

Conventional animal agriculture focuses on volume and fast growth. Profits, not animal welfare are top of mind, and animals live in cramped and unsanitary environments and suffer high rates of infection. Conventional practices squander large amounts of antibiotics to make up for poor animal care. These practices are antiquated, dangerous, and make the animals life so much worse than necessary. Two of our partners are farmers who are showing the world that animal agriculture can be done better. Will Harris from White Oak Pastures in Georgia, and Dave and Joseph Fischer from Fischer Farms in Indiana. Stay tuned for more news from Fischer Farms. You can get involved by voting with your dollar and buying meat raised without the misuse of antibiotics. For more informtion on food labels check out our buying guide here.

Recent research from our center showed, “Meat may be an important vehicle for human exposure to extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli strains from food animals,” approximately 8% of UTI’s in the study population were from food borne E. coli. As we mentioned yesterday it is important to pay attention to where your food comes from, and the conditions in which it was raised. Better animal husbandry is important for animal welfare, and human safety. If you do get a UTI and your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic, make sure to always follow their instructions. 

Title "Examples of how antibiotic resistance Spreads"  Graphic showing how antibiotic resistance spreads through the life cycle. From food animals into the land and into human gut when they consume food

We refer to antibiotic resistance as an environmental health issue because in nature everything is connected. You may think about how handling or eating meat might spread resistance, but that is just one pathway. As you’ll see in the CDC graphic on the left, resistant bacteria can start in food animals and then spread to the human gut. Resistant bacteria can move through the soil, water and even air to end up inside of you. With resistant bacteria in your body, antibiotics will become less effective and might even stop working altogether. We want antibiotics to work when you most need them and encourage you to support farmers and ranchers who take good care of their animals, their land and water, and also protect our precious antibiotics. Show your support by signing our pledge here.

Antibiotics are used to treat common bacterial infections such as UTI’s and they are imperative for cancer patients who are vulnerable to contracting infections, transplant patients, and any surgeries. It’s up to us to protect these life saving medicines. Like, share and follow us to continue the fight to preserve antibiotics all year long.

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