Nontherapeutic Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Animal Agriculture: Implications for Pediatrics.

TitleNontherapeutic Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Animal Agriculture: Implications for Pediatrics.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsPaulson JA, Zaoutis TE
Corporate AuthorsCOUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, Committee on Infectious Diseases
Date Published2015 Dec

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the most serious threats to public health globally and threatens our ability to treat infectious diseases. Antimicrobial-resistant infections are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and health care costs. Infants and children are affected by transmission of susceptible and resistant food zoonotic pathogens through the food supply, direct contact with animals, and environmental pathways. The overuse and misuse of antimicrobial agents in veterinary and human medicine is, in large part, responsible for the emergence of antibiotic resistance. Approximately 80% of the overall tonnage of antimicrobial agents sold in the United States in 2012 was for animal use, and approximately 60% of those agents are considered important for human medicine. Most of the use involves the addition of low doses of antimicrobial agents to the feed of healthy animals over prolonged periods to promote growth and increase feed efficiency or at a range of doses to prevent disease. These nontherapeutic uses contribute to resistance and create new health dangers for humans. This report describes how antimicrobial agents are used in animal agriculture, reviews the mechanisms of how such use contributes to development of resistance, and discusses US and global initiatives to curb the use of antimicrobial agents in agriculture.

Alternate JournalPediatrics
PubMed ID26574594