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Antibiotic-resistant infections on the rise

Beta-lactamase-producing bacteria (ESBL) are increasing, according to new data published in Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.

Beta-lactamases are enzymes produced by some bacteria that provide resistance to β-Lactam antibiotics like penicillins, cephamycins, and carbapenems.

Researchers identified infections due to ESBL-producing bacteria with urinary tract infections being the most common. During the study the most predominant pathogen was E. coli, which was susceptible to an older antibiotic called nitrofurantoin. The number of ESBL infections rose from 23 in 2006 to 81 in 2011.

Another group of studies have linked an increase in drug resistant urinary tract infections to eating chicken. An investigation by the Food and Environment Reporting Network and ABC News uncovered that the E. coli found in women's bodies with urinary tract infections was genetically similar to E. coli found in meat, either by improper handling or undercooking.

The use of antibiotics among farmers is increasing. The FDA has acknowledged that this poses a threat to the public. The FDA is asking pharmaceutical companies to voluntarily stop labeling these antibiotics for animal growth.

Another option is for the public to eat less meat and more plant based protein.