Since the discovery of antibiotics, our society has been prescribing these
life-savers to kill and limit the growth of bacteria in our systems. Antibiotics
are one of the most prescribed drugs used in human medicine, but due to
over-prescription of these drugs, roughly 50% of the time these drugs
are not prescribed and/or are used appropriately, leading to an increased
resistance of the bacteria to fight back against these drugs.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when there are a significant number of germs and bacteria in one’s
body, and the antibiotics kill the germs and bacteria that are causing
the illness in the person, but a few of the bacteria are able to fight
back against the drug and are able to grow and spread.
Antibiotics are also used in animals, like poultry, cows, and swine, to kill bacteria
in the intestines of these animals to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses
to humans who then eat these animals. However, due to the increase of
antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance, not all the bacteria is killed
in the food animals, and the bacteria can continue to spread and contaminate
their meat and other animal byproducts.
Due to the considerable threat represented by the antimicrobial/antibiotic
resistance, the practice of giving antibiotics to food-producing animals
has come under fire. Though California has been the only state to specifically
outlaw antibiotics in food-producing animals, Maryland has officially
Maryland’s Keep Antibiotics Effect Act (KAEA)
Governor Larry Hogan declined to sign or veto Maryland’s
Keep Antibiotics Effective Act, which will ban the routine use of antibiotics in healthy livestock and
food-producing animals in an attempt to battle the serious threat of antibiotic-resistant
bacteria, also known as “superbugs.” The Act will comeinto effect on October 1, 2017 and all farmers in Maryland will have to comply with the law by January
1, 2018. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) had originally enacted
a law that would prohibit the once-best practices of using antibiotics
to promote growth in farm animals, but allows for disease prevention by
administering antibiotics to food-producing animals. California’s
law, which passed in 2015, and now Maryland’s law
will go beyond the FDA requirements and will hopefully have the effect of limiting the
rise of these superbugs.
Exceptions to and Penalties of KAEA
The exceptions to the law are those farmers in Maryland who operate a cattle
farm of 200 cattle or less per year, those who operate a swine farm of
200 swine or less per year, or those who operate a poultry farm of less
than 60,000 birds per year.
As the law stands, after January 1, 2018, any antimicrobial drug that is
administered to cattle, swine, or poultry can only be used, and after
determined to be necessary by a licensed veterinarian, when there is a
disease or infection that needs to be treated, the drug is being used
to treat the spread of a disease or infection, and where there is a surgical
or medical procedure that requires administration of the drug.
Any person who violates the law may be required to pay a penalty of $2,000.
How KAEA Relates to Human Health
Though this issue seems to only relate to farms and their livestock, this
will hopefully have an impact on
antibiotic and antimicrobial resistance in humans who are the consumers of these animals. Exposure to those who may be resistant
to antibiotics and who have frail immunities may suffer severe illness
that could lead to death.
Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You
The antibiotic/antimicrobial resistance health endemic results largely
from the overprescription of antibiotics by medical professionals. If
you or a loved one has been injured or harmed as a result of medical malpractice
of medical professionals, it is important to consult with an experienced
personal injury attorney. Please call the
Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.