Using bacterial genomic and physiology determine conditions leading to the acquisition, retention, and transfer of antibiotic resistance organisms in cattle and swine. Use this information (1) to develop models that are useful to the regulatory agencies in their risk assessments of antibiotic usage in animals, and (2) to help develop practical recommendations to prevent the development and transfer of resistance and prolong the usefulness of antibiotics in both animals and humans.
Resistance to antibiotic drugs is generally agreed to be an increasing public health problem, and it is believed to originate at least in part from antibiotic use in food producing animals. Cattle and swine, particularly newborn animals, are subject to many diseases, including those caused by toxigenic E. coli, Campylobactor, and Salmonella species, which require treatment with antibiotics. These pathogens may become antibiotic resistance and subsequently be transferred to the meat products when the animals are slaughtered. This is one source of antibiotic resistant organisms to humans, and it can compromise the effectiveness of any antibiotic treatment in humans that may be necessary. We need to understand how antibiotic resistance develops in order to help develop recommendations that will permit antibiotics to continue to be used where necessary and remain effective, and very importantly not compromise the public health.