John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Antibiotic use in animals: Risks for human health Volume 2, issue 2, Mars 2003


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Laboratoire de microbiologie, UFR des sciences pharmaceutiques et biologiques, Université Paris 5, 4, avenue de l‘Observatoire, 75270 Paris Cedex 06 <carole.ayoubpharmacie.univ‐>
  • Key words: antibiotics; gene transfer; veterinary medicine; Enterococcus.
  • Page(s) : 97-104
  • Published in: 2003

The purpose of this article is to examine antibiotic use in animals and to identify the potential risks associated with it, especially those related to the emergence of antibiotic resistance in humans. The high level of antibiotic use in veterinary medicine promotes the emergence and dissemination of resistant microorganisms in the digestive tract of animals. The entry of these resistant bacteria of animal origin into the human food chain allows these strains to become established in the human gut and may promote the transfer of resistance to strains affecting humans, which can cause subsequent treatment failure. Different mechanisms govern the transfer of genes encoding antibiotic resistance in strains affecting animals and humans. In vitro and in vivo models were developed to evaluate the risks of these horizontal gene transfers. Because veterinary use of antibiotics is essential, national and international surveillance policies have been established to limit the dissemination of resistance in the environment and guarantee a safe food chain.