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President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address highlighted many landmark achievements in public health. But he failed to address an urgent issue. Antibiotic resistance is one of the largest growing threats to public health. A recent study found that by the year 2050, antibiotic resistant infections will kill more people than cancer.
Still, antibiotics are widely overused. In fact, 70 percent of antibiotics are used on factory farms, often when animals aren't even sick to control disease and make them fatter faster. This fuels the creation of superbugs, which make 2 million Americans sick every year.
We're looking at a future where ear infections, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and other common infections could once again kill. We should be doing everything we can to combat antibiotic resistance.
Major restaurant chains such as Subway, Chick-fil-A, and McDonald's have called for change by pledging to sell meat raised without antibiotics. We need more major restaurants, as well as the government, to follow their lead and help protect public health by ending the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.
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