The Catfish Institute
News Alert

Drug-Resistant Superbugs Traced
to Asian Seafood, Studies Report 

March 6, 20 17 -- Chinese overuse of the human antibiotic of last resort colistin in feeds for fish raised for export has led to the development and spread worldwide of drug resistant bacteria, several recent studies report. Worse still, the colistin-resistant bacteria have, in turn, produced a transferrable gene first discovered in China that can spread drug resistance to other organisms, according to America's Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.  Now, these drug-resistant genes have been found in bacteria living within humans in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Each year, about 700,000 people worldwide die from antibiotic-resistant infections, and that number is expected to soar well into the tens of millions in coming years.

In short, the Chinese aquaculture industry has "transformed what had been a hypothetical menace into a clear and present one: superbugs that are highly resistant to antibiotics," says Bloomberg Businessweek in a recent investigative report.  Canadian researchers first discovered that Chinese seafood exports -- rather than the human travelers from China first suspected -- are the vectors spreading dangerous drug-resistant bacteria across the globe. 

China produces about 60 percent of the world's farm-raised seafood and exports more to the U.S. than any other nation.  China is our largest supplier of tilapia and a major source of catfish and shrimp imports.  For more than a decade, the FDA has been routinely finding antibiotic-laden seafood imports from China and other Asian countries, which widely use Chinese feeds and aquaculture techniques.  "Ant ibiotic-contaminated seafood keeps turning up at U.S. ports, as well as in restaurants and grocery stores," Bloomberg Businessweek concludes.

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