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David Wallinga, M.D., IATP

Doctors and government officials are in a race to save one of modern "miracle cures," antibiotics that are essential for treating serious food poisoning and other infections. Unfortunately Bayer Corporation, maker of Bayer Aspirin and Flintstones vitamins, is erecting hurdles in the path of this public health effort.

Fluoroquinolones are among the most recently developed antibiotics. Since 1986, doctors have relied on them to treat a variety of bacterial infections, such as severe foodborne gastrointestinal illness caused by Campylobacter  bacteria. Doctors prize fluoroquinolone antibiotics for their ease of use, their relative lack of side effects, and their effectiveness against a broad range of bugs.

Since 1995, fluoroquinolones have also been used in poultry production via medicated water given to whole flocks of birds when just a few are found sick. These kind of conditions are ideal for bacteria to develop resistance to fluoroquinolones. And that is exactly what has happened.

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