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Center for a Livable Future


High-Density Livestock Operations, Crop Field Application of Manure, and Risk of Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infection in Pennsylvania

Joan A. Casey, Frank C. Curriero, Sara E. Cosgrove, Keeve E. Nachman, Brian S. Schwartz
JAMA Internal Medicine, September 2013


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Importance: Nearly 80% of antibiotics in the United States are sold for use in livestock feeds. The manure produced by these animals contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria, resistance genes, and antibiotics and is subsequently applied to crop fields, where it may put community members at risk for antibiotic-resistant infections.

Objective: To assess the association between individual exposure to swine and dairy/veal industrial agriculture and risk of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.

Conclusions and Relevance: Proximity to swine manure application to crop fields and livestock operations each was associated with MRSA and skin and soft-tissue infection. These findings contribute to the growing concern about the potential public health impacts of high-density livestock production.

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