Resistance Outbreaks in Turkey Farms Victoria Levine Catherine Herzog Bio 110 Lab Section 008 11/29/2016
Introduction Antibiotics have been the key in saving countless lives from serious bacterial infections. Antibiotics have increased life expectancy of both humans and animals. Antibiotics are only used to treat bacterial infections, and resistance occurs when antibiotics are misused, such as taking too many, taking too high a dose or stopping the medication prematurely. Resistance genes are carried on a bacterial plasmid. These plasmids eventually prevent the antibiotic from attaching to the ribosome, which would otherwise kill the bacteria. These plasmids can replicate and integrate into healthy DNA. It is important to regulate the number of antibiotics administered so animals that are used for food can be safely consumed. The purpose of this lab was to investigate the potential existence and prevalence of antibiotic- resistant bacteria at three different turkey farms. The objectives included identifying which resistance genes are present at each farm, if they are related, and to determine the frequency of antibiotic resistance at each farm. The three different turkey farms studied were Ivy’s Turkeys (Farm A), Jax Farms (Farm B) and Blizzard Farms (Farm C). These farms are geographically separated, but one goal of this lab is to identify if the resistance genes are still similar despite the geographical difference. In a farm setting, farmers will often give animals plenty of antibiotics so they are able to fight off common infections due to the conditions the animals are living in. Farmers will also give their livestock an excess of antibiotics to promote growth. In either of these cases, the animals are often given too many antibiotics and even given them when they are not needed, so they may build up a resistance to the antibiotics they are given ( Burpee et al , 2016). These animals can pass on the antibiotic resistance to humans very easily. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 5 resistance outbreaks are caused from animals. These animals that have antibiotic resistance can pass on their resistant bacteria to humans directly and indirectly. A direct passage would be animals that are consumed for their meat. An indirect passage would be the resistant bacteria getting into the water system then infecting naturally growing foods or water supplies (CDC, 2015). While only a small portion of resistant outbreaks are due to animals, they can certainly be prevented. The CDC released a report that suggested there needs to be more education for people in the food production field about the importance of smart antibiotic use as well as when and how to use them properly. If veterinarians were stricter with their recommendations to food processors, antibiotic misuse could be dramatically cut (Zuraw, 2013). Also, it is important to educate consumers on how to properly prepare food. Eating raw or undercooked food is a direct path to consuming antibiotic- resistant bacteria followed by contracting food poisoning. Bacteria, both resistant and not, can be killed off by extreme temperatures.
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