Health & Wellness

Beef could be life-threatening because of superbugs

The superbugs, which can cause epidemics, could be the source of meat from farms that use antibiotics, says The Scientific Reports on the basis of a study that was conducted by the University of Cairo and which puts warned against the real danger that all antibiotics will lose their effectiveness.

The first source of superbugs, which are able to withstand antibiotics and cause epidemics among men, could be in the future meat, primarily that of beef, from animals raised on farms resorting to antibiotics, biologists reported in an article published by The Scientific Reports.

"The presence of bacilli capable of producing enterotoxins in many beef and poultry samples in Egypt proves that these microbes could pose a serious threat to health. A prolonged use of antibiotics could make these bacteria capable of transmitting this capacity to other and more dangerous microbes, "say Kamelia Osman and her colleagues at Cairo University.

Scientists are finding more and more high-risk bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections. In addition, there is a real danger that all antibiotics will become ineffective.

According to the researchers, the main sources of these microbes are livestock farms where antibiotics are widely used to accelerate livestock growth. These establishments contain a large number of possible vectors of infections, bacteria and antibiotics that prevent "normal" bacteria from fighting the less prolific supermicrobes.

Kamelia Osman recalled in this context that the world has recently experienced several scandals relating to the importation or production of meat containing large quantities of pathogenic microbes.

As part of their experiment, scientists went to buy 250 pieces of local and imported beef and poultry in a market in Cairo to study. It was found that half contained bacilli, one third of the spores or cells of Bacillus cereus responsible in particular for toxic infections characterized by diarrheal symptoms. The problem is that this bacillus, unlike others, is very difficult to destroy, since its spores support a temperature of 100 degrees. Other pieces of meat contained CytK toxin, one of the "toxic gases" of Bacillus cereus.

More than half of these microbes were resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics widely used today in farms and clinics. However, the "last-ditch antibiotics", vancomycin and chloramphenicol, still manage to destroy all these bacilli: only 3% of them have managed to develop a mechanism of immunity against these drugs.

However, the most dangerous versions of all these microbes may appear in the coming years if antibiotics continue to be used in large quantities and farms do not meet basic sanitary standards, warn scientists.

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