由美國感染症醫學會（Infectious Diseases Society of America, IDSA）發表的《臨床傳染病》期刊指出，他們檢驗的禽畜肉品樣本中，有47%，也就是將近一半的樣本被驗出金黃色葡萄球菌；而這些帶菌樣本中更有52%，意即超過一半，菌株具有抗藥性，它們能抵抗至少3種抗生素。
Drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria linked to a wide range of human diseases, are present in meat and poultry from U.S. grocery stores at high rates, finds the first national assessment of antibiotic resistant S. aureus in the U.S. food supply.
Nearly half of the meat and poultry samples, 47 percent, were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria, 52 percent, were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics, according to the study published Friday in the journal "Clinical Infectious Diseases," a publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute used DNA testing to demonstrate that the food animals themselves were the major source of contamination.
Researchers collected and analyzed 136 samples covering 80 brands of beef, chicken, pork and turkey from 26 retail grocery stores in five U.S. cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Flagstaff and Washington, DC.
"For the first time, we know how much of our meat and poultry is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant Staph, and it is substantial," said Lance Price, PhD, senior author of the study and director of TGen's Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health.
"The fact that drug-resistant S. aureus was so prevalent, and likely came from the food animals themselves, is troubling, and demands attention to how antibiotics are used in food-animal production today," Dr. Price said.
Densely-stocked industrial farms, where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics, are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that move from animals to humans, finds the research, supported through a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts as part of The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming.
Although staph should be killed with proper cooking, it may still pose a risk to consumers through improper food handling and cross-contamination in the kitchen. Click here for tips on how to avoid staph contamination in the kitchen.
S. aureus can cause a range of illnesses from minor skin infections to life-threatening diseases, such as pneumonia, endocarditis and sepsis.
"Antibiotics are the most important drugs that we have to treat staph infections; but when staph are resistant to three, four, five or even nine different antibiotics, like we saw in this study, that leaves physicians few options," said Dr. Price, a senior science advisor at the Pew Charitable Trusts..
The U.S. government routinely surveys retail meat and poultry for four types of drug-resistant bacteria, but S. aureus is not among them. The paper suggests that a more comprehensive inspection program is needed.
On April 7, World Health Day, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, IDSA, rolled out a plan to combat deadly antibiotic-resistant "super bugs."
"The way we've managed our antibiotics for the past 70 years has failed. Antibiotics are a precious resource, like energy, and we have a moral obligation to ensure they are available for future generations," said IDSA President James Hughes, MD.
"IDSA has a comprehensive, multifaceted plan to address this crisis, but time is running out. If such measures are not implemented now by Congress, federal agencies and health care providers across the country an increasing number of lives will be devastated and lost."
"Infections are becoming increasingly resistant to existing antibiotics, while the number of new antibiotics being developed has plummeted," said Dr. Hughes.
IDSA is ringing the alarm bells loudly, saying, "Unless sweeping actions are taken now, the future could resemble the days before these miracle drugs were developed."