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Sexual Conditions Health Center

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New Clues to Stubborn Urinary Tract Infections

Study Says Antibiotic-Resitant E. coli Can Pass From Animals to Humans

Second Opinion

The new report should not be cause for undue alarm, says Roger Clemens, DrPH, adjunct professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and a spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists.

He puts the problem in perspective. "Just because you have resistance doesn't mean all bacteria in the [urinary] tract are resistant," he says, noting that the body has a balance of friendly and unfriendly bacteria.

The new report is a reminder, however, that food safety is a critical issue, he says. "It adds more fuel to say we need to be more diligent about food safety," he tells WebMD.

''Bacteria are talking to bacteria," he says of the Ho findings. "We need to keep that microbe world under control. This has been a concern for decades within the medical community."

In the U.S., proposed legislation would help limit the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, which some experts say are overused and too often given for non-therapeutic purposes, such as to promote faster growth.

Called the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act, the proposed legislation would require that the FDA conduct another review of approvals already issued for animal-feed use of antibiotics important for human medicine and rescind the approvals of any found to be unsafe when it comes to resistance.

Women are more prone than men are to urinary tract infections, and the rate of the infections increases in women as they age. Those with diabetes are also more likely to get UTIs due to immune system changes.

UTIs account for more than 8 million doctor visits a year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Symptoms may include an urge to urinate and a painful burning sensation during urination.

Treatment is with antibacterial drugs, but antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem.

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