Creating Super Bugs
But almost ever since farmers began using antibiotics in animals, researchers like Stuart Levy have been warning that they can threaten your health. The problem is bacteria are amazing creatures.
"As a young investigator," Levy recalls, "I was fascinated by bacterial ingenuity, so to speak. They had this facility to resist, to find a way to get around these powerful antibiotics."
Levy started studying this problem back in the 1960s. He'd seen bacteria get resistant to penicillin. He'd seen bacteria shrug off tetracycline. Levy and his colleagues discovered that the more you douse bacteria with antibiotics, the more some of those bacteria transformed themselves like creatures from outer space, so drugs become powerless to kill them. Levy started wondering, how are doctors hurting the public's health when they prescribe too many antibiotics in their clinics? And then it hit him.
"What's happening on the farm if we're throwing at the animals these drugs?" he questions.