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Antibiotics given to chickens 'kills 280 Britons a year'

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A brand new study claims that approximately 280 people in Britain could be dying each year from blood infections caused by antibiotic-resistant superbugs in chicken. The food industry give billions of chickens antibiotics to treat E.coli and this has fuelled strains of superbugs which when passed to humans are resistant to treatment.

In the Journal of Infectious Diseases it has been documented that as many as 1,500 people across Europe die as a result.

Scientists used a Dutch genetic fingerprinting study to get statistics from the deaths caused by superbugs in chicken specifically.

The Soil Association campaigns for healthy, humane and sustainable food. Their policy adviser, Richard Young, said: “This is the first detailed estimate to emerge of the human health consequences from the use of antibiotics in European agriculture. It indicates that large numbers of people die of resistant infections due to the over-reliance on antibiotics in intensive livestock farming. It also shows that there are major additional costs to the NHS from treating patients even when they survive the infections.”

In the UK, poultry associated E.coli infections resulted in an additional 12,500 days in hospital for treatment with antibiotics of last resort and throughout the EU as a whole, 8,502 cases of blood-poisoning.

The study concludes by calling for urgent action to be taken to reduce the antibiotics given not just to chickens but across all food animals.

By Melanie Chisnall, personal injury department

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