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Karlston posted a topic in General NewsDeadly superbug outbreak in humans linked to antibiotic spike in cows Use of certain antibiotics in cattle increased 41% just before the outbreak. Enlarge Getty | Sebastien Bozon A deadly outbreak of multi-drug resistant Salmonella that sickened 225 people across the US beginning in 2018 may have been spurred by a sharp rise in the use of certain antibiotics in cows a year earlier, infectious disease investigators reported this week. From June 2018 to March of 2019, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified an outbreak of Salmonella enterica serotype Newport. The strain was resistant to several antibiotics, most notably azithromycin—a recommended treatment for Salmonella enterica infections. Before the outbreak, azithromycin-resistance in this germ was exceedingly rare. In fact, it was only first seen in the US in 2016. Yet in the 2018-2019 outbreak, it reached at least 225 people in 32 states. Of those sickened, at least 60 were hospitalized and two died. (Researchers didn’t have complete health data on everyone sickened in the outbreak.) Infectious disease researchers investigating the cases traced the infections back to beef from the US and soft cheeses from Mexico (mostly queso fresco, which is typically made from unpasteurized milk). Genetic testing suggests that cows in both countries are carrying the germ. In a report published August 23 by the CDC, the investigators note that just a year earlier, the Food and Drug Administration recorded a spike in the use of antibiotics called macrolides by cattle farmers. From 2016 to 2017, cattle farmers increased their use of macrolide antibiotics by 41%. Macrolides are a class of antibiotics that includes azithromycin. Because antibiotics within a class work to kill bacteria in similar ways, bacterial resistance to one drug in a class could lead to resistance to other drugs in the same class. The investigators suggest that the surge in macrolide use could have encouraged the rise and spread of the azithromycin-resistant Newport strain. “Because use of antibiotics in livestock can cause selection of resistant strains, the reported 41% rise in macrolide use in US cattle from 2016 to 2017 might have accelerated carriage of the outbreak strain among US cattle,” they wrote. “Avoiding the unnecessary use of antibiotics in cattle, especially those that are important for the treatment of human infections, could help prevent the spread of [multi-drug resistant] Newport with decreased susceptibility to azithromycin.” In recent years, around 70% of all medically important antibiotics in the US have been sold for use in animals. Public health advocates say agricultural use of antibiotics should be reduced significantly to preserve the effectiveness of the drugs. To reduce the risk of infections—drug resistant or not—health officials advise consumers not to eat cheeses made from unpasteurized milk and to make sure beef reaches safe cooking temperatures: 145°F (62.8°C) for steaks and roasts followed by a 3-minute rest time, and 160°F (71.1°C) for ground beef or hamburgers. Source: Deadly superbug outbreak in humans linked to antibiotic spike in cows (Ars Technica)
steven36 posted a topic in General News5G-connected cows test milking parlor of the future SHEPTON MALLET, England (Reuters) - They may look like regular cows, but a herd of Friesian dairy cattle at a British farm are internet pioneers and they are enjoying the benefits of 5G connectivity before you. Cisco Systems Inc, which is developing network infrastructure for the emerging technology, has set up 5G testbeds to trial wireless and mobile connectivity in three rural locations. 5G promises super-fast connections, which evangelists say will transform the way we live our lives, enabling everything from self-driving cars to augmented-reality glasses and downloading a feature-length film to your phone in seconds. While it is being used in pockets of pilot studies around the world, the first near-nationwide coverage is not expected in countries such as China, Japan or the United States until 2023, according to industry analysts. For the cows, among the 5G-connected gadgets they are wearing is a collar that controls a robotic milking system. When the cow feels ready to be milked it will approach machine gates that will automatically open. The device recognizes the individual to precisely latch on to its teats for milking, while the cow munches on a food reward. At the government-funded Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI Centre) in Shepton Mallet, in southwest England, around 50 of the 180-strong herd is fitted with the 5G smart collars and health-monitoring ear tags. The gadgets do not harm the cows and the monitoring allows handlers to see any signs of distress. “We are testing the ability of 5G to transmit the data from our sensors much quicker, and not via the farm’s PC and a slow broadband internet connection,” said Duncan Forbes, Project Manager at the Agri-Epi Centre “And the significance of that is it means that this sort of technology could be taken up ... not just on farms but on rural communities right across the country.” The working dairy, set up by Agri-EPI with the support of Britain’s innovation agency, uses a range of technology; including automated brushes that rotate when the cow rubs up against them, sensor-operated curtains that open depending on the weather, and a smart feeding system that automatically delivers food in the barn via ceiling-mounted rails. “We can connect every cow, we can connect every animal on this farm,” Cisco’s Nick Chrissos said. “That’s what 5G can do for farming — really unleash the power that we have within this farm, everywhere around the UK and everywhere around the world.” Source
steven36 posted a topic in General NewsWELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand plans to slaughter about 150,000 cows as it tries to eradicate a strain of disease-causing bacteria from the national herd. Politicians and industry leaders announced the ambitious plan Monday. They say it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and, if successful, would be the first time an infected country has eliminated Mycoplasma bovis. Farming is vital to the economy in New Zealand, whose isolation has helped protect it from some diseases that affect herds elsewhere. Last July, Mycoplasma bovis was found in the country for the first time. Found in Europe and the U.S., the bacteria can cause cows to develop mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis and other diseases. They are not considered a threat to food safety, but do cause production losses. Officials say they plan to kill all cows on any farms where the bacteria are found, even if some of the animals are healthy. They say many of the cows will be slaughtered at processing plants and used for beef, but some cows will have to be killed and buried on the farms or dumped in approved landfills. Officials have the legal authority to forcibly enter farms and kill animals even in cases where a farmer might resist. Katie Milne, the national president of the advocacy group Federated Farmers, said it was important to try to get rid of Mycoplasma bovis while there was still a chance. She said they would try to make sure affected farmers had all the support they needed, including adequate compensation. “This is a tough time, and the pain and anguish they’re going to go through is really hideous,” she said of the farmers. New Zealand is home to some 10 million cows, about double its human population. About two-thirds are dairy cows and the rest beef cattle. Milk products represent the country’s largest single export, and much of it is sold to China and used in infant formula. Mycoplasma bovis has so far been found on 38 farms throughout New Zealand, officials say, a number they expect to rise to at least 142 farms based on computer modeling. Officials are still trying to figure out how the bacteria got into the country despite strict biosecurity controls. The cost of the eradication program is estimated at 886 million New Zealand dollars ($616 million) over ten years. Source