LINCOLN, NEB. — The overuse of antibiotics in cattle feedlots, hog confines and chicken houses is creating "super-bugs" that, when transmitted to humans, are difficult to treat and could be deadly, public health officials warn.
The problem stems from decades of mixing antibiotic drugs with feed to help animals grow faster, officials said. The practice is particularly common in the swine and poultry industries, where producers say the drugs help the animals reach market weight faster and save money on feed.
Livestock drugs are causing once vulnerable bacteria to mutate and develop resistance to the drugs, health experts say. Because the livestock drugs are similar to human versions, the so-called super-bugs can shrug off antibiotics used to battle them in people.