Supplementing animal feed with antimicrobial agents to enhance growth has been common practice for more than 30 years and is estimated to constitute more than half the total antimicrobial use worldwide. The potential public health consequences of this use have been debated; however, until recently, clear evidence of a health risk was not available. Accumulating evidence now indicates that the use of the glycopeptide avoparcin as a growth promoter has created in food animals a major reservoir of Enterococcus faecium, which contains the high level glycopeptide resistance determinant vanA, located on the Tn1546 transposon. Furthermore, glycopeptide-resistant strains, as well as resistance determinants, can be transmitted from animals to humans. Two antimicrobial classes expected to provide the future therapeutic options for treatment of infections with vancomycin-resistant enterococci have analogues among the growth promoters, and a huge animal reservoir of resistant E. faecium has already been created, posing a new public health problem.
|Journal||Emerging Infectious Diseases (Print Edition)|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|