NZ pupil finds antibiotic-resistant bugs in poultry

06-12-2007 | |

A Christchurch (New Zealand) teenager’s school science project, which apparently backs up international studies, has gathered a fair amount of attention.

Jane Millar found multiple antibiotic-resistant bugs in fresh store-bought chicken while conducting research for an International Baccalaureate Diploma.
She found that the chicken contained bacteria that had developed resistance to gentamicin and tonramycin, which are antibiotics not used in the poultry industry in the region, but important for treating infections in humans.
A similar study was undertaken in the US where gentamicin is used. A total of 44% of retail chicken products contained a high-level of gentamicin-resistant bugs. Furthermore, high levels were also found in human stool samples.
Worldwide studies have found that 90% of poultry offered on supermarket shelves carries other antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as campylobacter and salmonella. According to the student, resistant bacteria could live in the human intestinal tract and easily transfer their resistances to other bugs, resulting in superbugs.