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Industrial Food Animal Production, Antimicrobial Resistance, And Human Health

Ellen K. Silbergeld, Jay Graham, Lance B. Price

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Antimicrobial resistance is a major public health crisis, eroding the discovery of antimicrobials and their application to clinical medicine. There is a general lack of knowledge of the importance of agricultural antimicrobial use as a factor in antimicrobial resistance even among experts in medicine and public health. This review focuses on agricultural antimicrobial drug use as a major driver of antimicrobial resistance worldwide for four reasons: It is the largest use of antimicrobials worldwide; much of the use of antimicrobials in agriculture results in subtherapeutic exposures of bacteria; drugs of every important clinical class are utilized in agriculture; and human populations are exposed to antimicrobial-resistant pathogens via consumption of animal products as well as through widespread release into the environment.