Superbugs are on the rise in Canada, but not as fast as WHO suggests

Drug resistant gonorrhea under a microscope. PHOTO: THE CANADIAN PRES/PUBLIC HEALTH ONTARIO

Drug resistant gonorrhea under a microscope.
PHOTO: THE CANADIAN PRES/PUBLIC HEALTH ONTARIO

Published: May 1, 2014

A World Health Organization report on superbugs suggests Canada has one of highest rates of drug resistant gonorrhea in the world.

But Canadian health officials say they have no idea where the international agency got the data indicating 31 per cent of the microbes causing the sexually transmitted disease in Canada show resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, an antibiotic of last resort.

“We just don’t know where they pulled that number from,” says Michael Mulvey, who tracks resistant organisms for the Public Health Agency of Canada. Continue reading →

Canada’s chicken farmers ban injections that trigger superbugs

 Canada’s chicken farmers ban injections that trigger superbugs Chicken farmers New chicks in at barn in British Columbia. PHOTO: CHICKEN FARMERS OF CANADA


Canada’s chicken farmers ban injections that trigger superbugs
Chicken farmers
New chicks in at barn in British Columbia.
PHOTO: CHICKEN FARMERS OF CANADA

Published: April 17, 2014

Canadian chicken farmers are putting an end to controversial egg injections, which provided the world with a “textbook” example of the perils of mass medication.

By injecting eggs at hatcheries with ceftiofur, a medically important antibiotic, the farmers triggered the rise of resistant microbes that showed up in both chickens and in Canadians creating a “major” public health concern.

The case  – documented by federal and provincial sleuths who track microbes at farms, slaughterhouses and retail meat counters – is held up as powerful evidence of resistant superbugs moving from farm to fork.

“It is going to be in medical textbooks for as long as there are textbooks around,” says John Prescott, a professor with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph. Continue reading →

As Canada dawdles, Denmark shows the world how to stop mass medicating animals

DSC_3704Published: April 18, 2014

COPENHAGAN, Denmark  — Michael Nielsen unlocks the door to his pig factory. He doffs his jacket, pants and muddy boots and zips on white coveralls. Then he steps into the maze-like complex housing several thousand pigs.

From the birthing room — where one enormous sow has just delivered 22 squirming piglets — to the insemination stalls where the next generation is in the works, Nielsen prides himself on smart, efficient farming.

Here in Denmark that means recording every single dose of antibiotic farmers use.

Unlike Canadian farmers who can import antibiotics by the truckload, Nielsen can only obtain them by prescription at a pharmacy. Use too many antibiotics and Nielsen would get a dreaded “yellow card” from the Danish government that has the world’s most comprehensive surveillance system for tracking and targeting overuse of antibiotics. Continue reading →