Sigal Samuel of Vox explores the risk that factory farming poses to the emergence of a global pandemic. Animal farmers are using excessive amounts of antibiotics to compensate for the health risks of overcrowding. This drives up antibacterial resistance. A drug resistant bacterial outbreak on a farm can be transmitted to humans. Should the same infection transmit well between people, an untreatable bacterial pandemic would occur.
“Say a bacterial outbreak emerges among chickens. The poultry can pass that bacteria on to us humans, causing serious infection. We’d normally then want to use antibiotics to treat that infection, but precisely because we’ve already overused antibiotics on our farmed animals, the bacteria may be resistant to the antibiotic.”
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