Saturday, July 30, 2005

547: Banning Baytril from poultry farms

Citing Human Threat, U.S. Bans a Poultry Drug - New York Times:

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that it was banning the use of the antibiotic Baytril in poultry because of concerns that it could lead to antibiotic-resistant infections in people.

The agency's commissioner, Lester M. Crawford, ordered that approval for use of the drug, known generically as enrofloxacin, be withdrawn effective Sept. 12.

Baytril, manufactured by Bayer of Leverkusen, Germany, is in the same family as the popular drug Cipro, which is used in humans.

Dr. Crawford cited particular concerns about campylobacter bacteria, a growing source of serious illness in humans. Antibiotics used to treat the bacteria can be less effective if the germ has already developed resistance to Baytril, the agency said.

Campylobacter is commonly found in the intestinal tracts of turkeys and chickens, where it does not generally cause illness, Dr. Crawford said in his order.

Use of enrofloxacin in poultry does not eliminate campylobacter from the birds, but instead results in the development of bacteria resistant to this type of drug, he said.

Resistant bacteria may be present in poultry sold at retail outlets. Dr. Crawford noted that since the drug was introduced for poultry in the 1990's, the proportion of resistant campylobacter infections in humans has risen significantly.

That can prolong the length of infections in people and increase the risk of complications, he said. Complications can include reactive arthritis and blood stream infections. A Bayer spokesman, Bob Walker, said company officials were reviewing the ruling from a scientific and legal position before deciding whether to appeal it.
Antibiotic resistance is evolution at work, and overuse of antibiotics in farming exposes humans to greater risks. Baytril resistant bacteria are also resistant to Cipro, which you'll remember from the anthrax scare.