Journal Article

Human Health Consequences of Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Aquaculture

Ole E. Heuer, Hilde Kruse, Kari Grave, P. Collignon, Iddya Karunasagar and Frederick J. Angulo

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 49, issue 8, pages 1248-1253
Published in print October 2009 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2009 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/605667
Human Health Consequences of Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Aquaculture

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Intensive use of antimicrobial agents in aquaculture provides a selective pressure creating reservoirs of drug-resistant bacteria and transferable resistance genes in fish pathogens and other bacteria in the aquatic environment. From these reservoirs, resistance genes may disseminate by horizontal gene transfer and reach human pathogens, or drug-resistant pathogens from the aquatic environment may reach humans directly. Horizontal gene transfer may occur in the aquaculture environment, in the food chain, or in the human intestinal tract. Among the antimicrobial agents commonly used in aquaculture, several are classified by the World Health Organisation as critically important for use in humans. Occurrence of resistance to these antimicrobial agents in human pathogens severely limits the therapeutic options in human infections. Considering the rapid growth and importance of aquaculture industry in many regions of the world and the widespread, intensive, and often unregulated use of antimicrobial agents in this area of animal production, efforts are needed to prevent development and spread of antimicrobial resistance in aquaculture to reduce the risk to human health.

Journal Article.  4286 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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