News of the WeekInfectious Diseases

Farm Fungicides Linked to Resistance in a Human Pathogen

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Science  27 Nov 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5957, pp. 1173
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5957.1173

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A team of Dutch researchers has reignited a debate on the agricultural use of fungicides with a review in the December issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The authors maintain that the massive use of fungicides to protect European orchards, vineyards, and grain fields may be contributing to resistance against drugs used to treat people with life-threatening infections of Aspergillus fumigatus. Although the overuse of antibiotics in animal husbandry is known to have caused resistance in the human population, this would be the first time a similar link is found between farm use of fungicides and human health.