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Poultry workers carry antibiotic-resistant germs

It has been revealed in a US study that poultry workers are 32 times more likely to carry antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria than non-poultry workers.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health reported they found that E. coli bacteria in the US poultry industry are resistant to the commonly used antibiotic gentamicin.

High level exposure
While drug resistant bacteria such as E. coli are common in the industrial broiler chicken environment, the researchers said their study is the first US research to show exposure occurring at a high level among industrial poultry workers.

According to Lance Price, the study's lead author, for over 50 years the use of antimicrobials has been present in the United States. There are estimates indicating well over half of the antimicrobial drugs produced in the US are used in food animal production.

The research appears in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal.

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