Following is one of the first major media stories exposing the threat to human health of the over-use of antibiotics in livestock, presented by Katie Couric with CBS. It is still compelling, in light of the recently announced FDA guidelines.
“It’s scary, I mean, you just can’t describe it really,” said Bill Reeves.
Two years ago, 46-year-old Bill Reeves, who worked at a poultry processing plant in Batesville, Arkansas, developed a lump under his right eye.
“It went from about the size of a mosquito bite to about the size of a grapefruit,” he said.
CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reports doctors tried several drugs that usually work on this potentially deadly infection: methicillin resistant staph or MRSA – before one saved his life.
“You go from a just regular day to knowing you may die in a couple of hours,” Reeves said.
He wasn’t the only worker from this farming community to get sick. Joyce Long worked at the hatchery, handling eggs and chicks. She got MRSA at least a dozen times, and had to try several drugs as well.
“It was real painful. Shots don’t help, because it’s so infected, it don’t help much,” she said.
Within weeks, 37 people at the hatchery got sick. They’ve filed personal injury claims against the company, Pilgrims Pride, which has no comment.
This is not an isolated incident and chickens aren’t the only concern. A University of Iowa studylast year, found a new strain of MRSA — in nearly three-quarters of hogs (70 percent), and nearly two-thirds of the workers (64 percent) — on several farms in Iowa and Western Illinois. All of them use antibiotics, routinely. On antibiotic-free farms no MRSA was found.
To read the rest of the story and view the CBS video, follow this link: