Superbugs from swine? Antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in flies, roaches on hog farms

Jan 28, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Antibiotics are frequently used on commercial hog farms not only to fight disease, but also to help pigs gain weight faster. New research from North Carolina State University and Kansas State University shows that the common pests that live on these farms acquire antibiotic-resistant bacteria and have the potential to spread these bacteria throughout the farm and to residential settings.

Cockroaches and house flies on swine farms in North Carolina and Kansas contained many of the same drug-resistant bacteria present in hog feces, suggesting that these common pests acquired the bacteria from contact with swine . These drug-resistant bacteria are rarely found in and flies collected in urban areas.

The bacteria, different members of a family of common digestive bacteria called enterococci, found in the digestive tracts of farm flies and roach feces contained certain genes that provide resistance to , says Dr. Coby Schal, Blanton J. Whitmire Distinguished Professor of at NC State and a co-author of a paper describing the research, which was published online this week in the journal BMC Microbiology. Some of these bacteria are resistant not only to single common infection-killing antibiotics like tetracycline and streptomycin, but also to combinations of antibiotics, making them multi-drug resistant.

“The big concern is not that humans will acquire drug-resistant bacteria from their properly cooked bacon or sausage, but rather that the bacteria will be transferred to humans from the common pests that live with pigs and then move in with us,” Schal says. “It’s also possible that these farm flies and farm roaches carry other microbes of great importance to human health.”

Antibiotic-resistant – “superbugs” in the popular parlance – are an increasing problem in the United States, causing increased health-care costs, prolonged hospitalization for infections and higher human mortality rates.

“Pest-management strategies are important – the fly at your picnic or roach scuttling across the living room floor can be more than just a nuisance,” Schal adds.

Explore further: Analysis of spider venom reveals seven promising compounds with potential to relieve chronic pain

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Household bugs -- a risk to human health?

Jan 26, 2011

Superbugs are not just a problem in hospitals but could be also coming from our animal farms. Research published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Microbiology indicates insects could be responsible for spreading antibi ...

ESBL killing people, swine

Mar 05, 2008

An antibiotic-resistant bacteria called Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase is killing people and swine in Denmark.

Resistant gut bacteria will not go away by themselves

Jun 19, 2007

E. coli bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics will probably still be around even if we stop using antibiotics, as these strains have the same good chance as other bacteria of continuing to colonise the gut, ...

Recommended for you

Newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise

11 hours ago

Scientists at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have discovered a new hormone that fights the weight gain caused by a high-fat Western diet and normalizes the metabolism - effects commonly associated ...

Highly sensitive detection of malaria parasites

14 hours ago

New assays can detect malaria parasites in human blood at very low levels and might be helpful in the campaign to eradicate malaria, reports a study published this week in PLOS Medicine. An international team l ...

How fat breakdown contributes to insulin resistance

20 hours ago

New research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine has shed light on how chronic stress and obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes. The findings point the finger at an unexpected biological perpetrator – ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.