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Effectiveness of antibiotics at serious risk thanks to overuse in animals

Written by Diane Archer

Antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective at treating people, and doctors are seeing a significant number of their patients die as a consequence, according to a new report from Consumers Union and U.S. PIRG.

In a survey of 500 doctors, 425 reported that one or more of their patients had been presumed or diagnosed infected with a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection in the last year.  They said that more than one in three of these patients had either died or suffered serious health complications.

According to the CDC, about 23,000 Americans die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  The high frequency of antibiotic use in food-producing healthy animals is a large part of the cause. About 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are for livestock to promote growth.  Only about 20 percent are used on people.

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