Today’s Headlines: Antibiotics in Animals, DDT and Norovirus

FDA allows antibiotics in animal feed despite potential risk to human health, report claims: A report from an environment advocacy group claims that “the Food and Drug Administration has continued to allow dozens of antibiotics to be used in feed for livestock, despite findings from its researchers that the drugs could expose humans to antibiotic-resistant bacteria through the food supply.” The records, obtained by the Natural Resources Defense Council, showed that FDA officials reviewed approximately 30 animal feed additives between 2001 and 2010 and rated 18 of them “high risk” of contributing to human health problems. The report also stated that at least 26 of the additives “did not meet standards set by the agency in 1973, which required companies to submit scientific studies proving the drugs were safe.” (The Washington Post)

DDT exposure linked to Alzheimer’s disease: “A new study links exposure to the insecticide DDT with Alzheimer’s disease.” Researchers found that 80% of patients with Alzheimer’s had evidence of exposure to the pesticide, which was widely used from the 1940s to 1972 to kill mosquitos that cause malaria. About 70% of people without Alzheimer’s also had evidence of DDT exposure, but the levels of DDE, a breakdown product of DDT, “were nearly four times higher in the blood of people with Alzheimer’s.” DDT was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 due to concerns about the risk to wildlife, but “DDT persists in the environment and in human blood and tissue.” (USA Today)

CDC to stay on cruise ship with nearly 650 sickened: “The CDC says more than 620 have been sickened on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas.” Federal health officials are on board the cruise ship, which will arrive back to a port in New Jersey later this week, “keeping an eye on patients and trying to find the source of a nasty stomach bug that’s sickened more than 620 people.” Officials say norovirus, a common and highly infectious virus that commonly causes diarrhea and vomiting, is most likely to blame. “It can make as many as 21 million people sick every year and put 50,000 to 70,000 into the hospital,” but fortunately it is not usually fatal.  After the ship returns to port, it will be fully disinfected, according to Royal Caribbean. (NBC News)