NYMC Faculty Publications


Even Therapeutic Antimicrobial Use in Animal Husbandry May Generate Environmental Hazards to Human Health

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February 2016


Microbiology and Immunology


The potential negative impact for human health of veterinary use of antimicrobials in prophylaxis, metaphylaxis and growth promotion in animal husbandry was first established in the 1960s and 1970s. Determination of the molecular structure of antimicrobial resistance plasmids at that time explained the ability of antimicrobial resistance genes to disseminate among bacterial populations and elucidated the reasons for the negative effects of antimicrobials used in food animals for human health. In this issue of Environmental Microbiology, Liu et al. (2016) show that even therapeutic use of antimicrobials in dairy calves has an appreciable environmental microbiological footprint. We discuss the negative implications of this footprint for human health and the possibility they may lead to calls for increased regulation of veterinary antimicrobial use in terrestrial and aquatic environments.