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Feds pull approval of poultry antibiotic

11:14am, August 9, 2005

The Food and Drug Administration is about to prohibit poultry farmers from treating chickens and turkeys with the antibiotic enrofloxacin. Use of the antibiotic, whose trade name is Baytril, is leading to the emergence of microbes in the birds' meat that resist several antibiotics used to treat food poisoning in people, the agency says.

On the market for 9 years, the drug has become decreasingly effective against Campylobacter, which causes gut-wrenching illness in people. Farmers use the antibiotic in poultry to control other bacteria, but most birds have asymptomatic Campylobacter infections. When exposed to enrofloxacin, those microbes develop resistance to some antibiotics.

In a July 28 announcement on the drug, FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford noted that Campylobacter is the leading bacterial food poisoning agent in the United States, making some 1.9 million people sick each year. He said that FDA's objective is to keep the germs vulnerab

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