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Anti-biotics and virus infections

spotsnall katzday at tamu.edu
Fri Jan 7 10:43:17 EST 2000

In article <9472290455002 at sciboard.spd.louisville.edu>, 
Modem at sciboard.spd.louisville.edu says...
>A_>"He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself
>A_>the accomplice of liars and forgers." - Charles Peguy
>The reason I have heard is that it suppresses any bacteria present and
>allows the body's imune system to work full time fighting the virus.
>They put (or used-to) large amoounts of antibiotics is animal feed for
>similar reasons.

Nice try but no award.  Sometimes folks with severe flu are treated with
antimicrobials because doing so will protect against bacterial pneumonia; also
there may be concomitant bacterial infections in sites such as the middle ear
or throat.  So the antibiotics are not used to treat the flu but rather to 
treat secondary bacterial infections or to prevent secondary 
bacterial infections.

WHile it is true that antimicrobials are used in animal feed, this practice
has nothing to do with allowing the body's immune system to work.

In some animals, particularly ruminants, (chickens too)  antimicrobials act as 
promotors" and the exact mechanism is complex because the microbiology of
the rumen and of the cecum/colon are complex.  

Another reason antimicrobials are used in animal feed is to protect newborn
and young animals from certain specific infectious agents: eg. coccidia
(a protozoan) so cocidiostats are added to chicken feed.

Some fowl e.g. turkeys tend to be susceptible to salmonellosis; and so on.

A complete explanation of the practices and issues you raised would take
several text books.  

Forget the knee jerk quick answer that is usually wrong.

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