CDC Report: Human Abuse, Not Food Animal Doses, Leads to Antibiotic Resistance

Oct. 17, 2013

A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies overuse in humans as the principal cause of antibiotic resistant disease. According to the report’s authors, “up to 50 percent of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not needed or are not optimally effective as prescribed.”
The agency found that each year two million individuals in the U.S. acquire serious infections with bacteria that are resistant to one or more antibiotics. At least 23,000 of the victims die as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant infections.
According to CDC Director Tom Frieden, “Right now, the most acute problem is in hospitals. The most resistant organisms in hospitals are emerging because of poor anti-microbial stewardship among humans.”
The report’s summary includes a note that antibiotics are prescribed for use in food animals to prevent, control and treat disease. But the CDC did not identify this use as the most significant source of the problem. The agency only reiterated its position that the drugs should not be used to promote food animal growth – a guideline already followed by most livestock producers.
A copy of the report can be accessed at