In July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a report announcing that the antibiotic Baytril would be banned from use in poultry effective September 12, 2005. The drug will remain on the market and approved for use in treating infections in dogs, cats and cows.
The FDA took the extraordinary move out of concern that use of Baytril in poultry could lead to antibiotic-resistant form of the campylobacter bacteria. Campylobacter is common in the intestines of turkey and chickens, but it doesn’t usually cause the animals disease. When Baytril is administered to poultry, it tends to lead to the emergence of antibiotic resistant forms of the bacteria.
The FDA fears that, while not causing illness to poultry, these antibiotic resistant forms of campylobacter could find their way to human beings, impairing the ability of existing antibiotics to treat these human infections.
The Associated Press reported that,
Resistant bacteria my be present in poultry sold at retail outlets. [FDA commissioner Lester] Crawford noted that since the drug was introduced for poultry in the 1990s, the proportion of resistant campylobacter infections in humans has risen significantly.
That can prolong the length of infections in people and increase the risk of complications, Crawford said. Complications can include reactive arthritis and blood stream infections.
Bayer, the manufacturer of Baytril, has 60 days to appeal the FDA’s decision.
The full FDA report on Baytril can be read here (2 mb PDF file).
FDA bans use of Baytril in poultry. Randolph Schmid, Associated Press, July 29, 2995.