Campus News

Dr. Shelley Hearne 83 Warns Antibiotics in Animals Could Threaten Human Health in Huffington Post

Story posted March 23, 2010

An article, "Save Lives, Save Animals by Saving Antibiotics," by Dr. Shelley Hearne '83, managing director of the Pew Health Group at The Pew Charitable Trusts and a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, appeared in the March 23, 2010, edition of The Huffington Post.

Shelley HearneThumb.jpg
Shelley Hearne '83

An excerpt from the article:

Antibiotics are one of the pillars of public health in the 21st century. These drugs can literally mean the difference between life and death when we contract a bacterial infection-from Staph to salmonella to bacterial pneumonia. But overuse of these drugs is making bacteria resistant to essential antibiotics. As a result, these vital drugs are becoming ineffective.
The American public is largely doing its part to prevent overuse by following the advice of our doctors. We are getting better about not taking antibiotics when we don't need them and using prescriptions as directed. Unfortunately, some industrial farms are not so prudent.

Read the article.

Dr. Hearne appeared in a two-part investigative series on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric February 9, 2010.

The segment investigates whether feeding antibiotics to healthy farm animals creates new drug-resistant bacteria that ultimately threaten human health.

"How does this go from the farm to the meat counter, to having an adverse effect on humans," asks Couric in an interview with Hearn.

"If the bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics, it can actually spread in many ways," replies Hearne. "It could be in the food supply, but it also can be in waters that runoff in a farm. It could be in the air. It can happen very quickly in many different ways. It's why it's a practice that has to stop on the farms."


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