Burger King, Tim Hortons to end use of chicken raised with antibiotics
The company that owns fast-food chains Burger King and Tim Hortons has vowed to stop purchasing chicken raised with antibiotics that are also used in human medicine, according to Reuters.
Restaurant Brands International Inc said its brands, which also include Popeye's Louisiana Chicken, will switch to chicken raised without medically important antibiotics by the end of 2018.
With the move, the company is following in the footsteps of other fast-food chains—including McDonald's, Wendy's, Chik-fil-A, and Kentucky Fried Chicken—that have said they will cut the use of medically important antibiotics in their chicken supply. According to a press release from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 11 of the top 15 chains in the United States have now committed to some level of responsible antibiotic use in their chicken supply.
"With this commitment, Burger King and Tim Hortons are helping keep our lifesaving drugs working when sick people need them," NRDC food policy advocate Lena Brooke said in the press release.
According to estimates, about 70% of all medically important antibiotics sold in the United States are used in poultry and livestock production. Public health officials are concerned that the widespread use of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals is contributing to antibiotic resistance.
Jun 22 Reuters story
Jun 22 NRDC press release
Researchers investigate MRSA infections in Norway, Kuwait
A study yesterday in PLoS One suggests that immigration and importation are responsible for an increase in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in Norway, while another study in the same journal revealed that community-associated MRSA strains were prevalent among MRSA isolates from a Kuwaiti maternity hospital.
In the study on Norway, which has one of the lowest prevalence of MRSA infections in the world but has seen an increase in the incidence of MRSA isolates since 2011, researchers investigated recent trends by analyzing national registry data from 2006 through 2015. They placed particular emphasis on characterizing the temporal patterns of domestic vs. imported infections, stratified by age and by Norwegian versus immigrant background.
A total of 5,289 MRSA infections were reported in Norway during the study period, with 2,255 (42.6%) acquired in Norway, 1,370 (25.9%) acquired abroad, and 1,664 (31.5%) with an unknown place of acquisition. Infections from abroad were mainly acquired in Asia (43.3%) and Europe (24.9%). Over the course of the study, the proportion of imported infections tied to tourism decreased, while the proportion of infections related to immigrants arriving in Norway and to family visits abroad increased.
A time series analysis showed that the monthly notification rate (NR) rose by 0.8% each month, from 0.51 per 100,000 people at the beginning of the study to 1.41 at the end, corresponding to a rise from 24 monthly cases to 73. A significant association between this increase and the total number of international flights arriving in Norway was found, with seasonal peaks in the summer.
While the researchers observed a significant monthly increase in the NR for both immigrants and those with a Norwegian background, by the end of the study the NR for immigrants was 3.21, more than three times higher than the NR for native Norwegians (0.93). In addition, they identified a significant increase in the rate of domestically acquired infections (0.4% per month), but the NR of infections acquired abroad increased faster (0.8% per month). The strongest increase was observed in people 19 years and younger.
Jun 22 PLoS One study
In the other PLoS One study, Kuwaiti researchers analyzed MRSA isolates collected from 2006 to 2011 at a Kuwaiti maternity hospital to determine their genetic relatedness. The hospital has seen a gradual increase in MRSA incidence since 2005.
Molecular typing of the 103 MRSA isolates obtained from 64 neonates, 17 adult patients, and 12 healthcare workers revealed that 66.9% had community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) genotypes. The MRSA population was dominated by internationally recognized clonal complexes and consisted of known strains that have been previously reported in Kuwait, such as ST239-III-t680, ST22-IV-t223/t852, and ST80-IV-t044. But a novel strain, ST5-V-t022, was identified as the major clone. The number of MRSA isolates increased from two in 2006 to 22 in 2011, with a peak of 43 in 2008.
"The high prevalence of CA-MRSA observed in this study mirrors recent observations in other centers where CA-MRSA are the dominant MRSA isolates obtained from neonatal units," the authors write.
Jun 22 PLoS One study