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Congresswoman Louise Slaughter

Representing the 25th District of New York

Slaughter Statement Following the Discovery of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbug in the United States

May 26, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25), the only microbiologist in Congress, released this statement following reports of the first case in the United States of bacteria resistant to all antibiotics. Earlier this week, the Department of Defense notified stakeholders that its Multidrug-resistant Organism Repository and Surveillance Network (MRSN) had identified the first colistin-resistant E. coli in a person in this country. A USDA and HHS search for colistin-resistant bacteria in food animals, retail meats, and people also found colistin-resistant E. coli in a sample from a pig intestine.

“I have been sounding the alarm for years, and now, what we've been dreading has happened. We have an antibiotic-resistant superbug that can't be killed by any known drug. We need swift, aggressive, global action to stop this in its tracks—now. That starts with passing and implementing one of my top priorities, the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act. If we don’t eliminate the unnecessary and unsafe practice of using 80 percent of our antibiotics to treat livestock at sub-therapeutic levels, we’ll never get out ahead of this growing public health crisis. It’s time to break the stranglehold the pharmaceutical industry and corporate agriculture have on our public health policy, and that starts with passing my bill.”  

Last year, Slaughter re-introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, the most important solution to prevent a nightmarish post-antibiotic future. She has carried this legislation for the past four terms in office, and has been an original cosponsor since the bill was first introduced in 1999. The bill would save eight critical classes of antibiotics from being routinely fed to healthy animals and would reserve them only for sick humans and sick animals.