Lynn and Nancy Utesch received the Persons of the Year Award during the 9th Annual World MRSA Day & Global C. difficile Summit held Sept. 30 at the Community House in Hinsdale, Illinois.
The Utesches are activists and organic farmers for environmental change and protection in their Wisconsin community and nationwide. They founded the organization Kewaunee C.A.R.E.S. (Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Stewardship) in 2011 to raise awareness in their community of Kewaunee concerning the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that were seriously polluting their county and surrounding area.
CAFOs use large amounts of antibiotics (70-80 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. go into livestock) and hormones to produce large animals quickly. This also then produces large amounts of wet manure, which contains LA-MRSA (livestock-associated MRSA) and it runs off into rivers, streams, lakes, and other waterways. It is also aerated by farmers to fertilize farmland. Livestock, farm workers and neighboring residents can become colonized with LA-MRSA and acquire an infection, which is hard to treat and antibiotic-resistant.
The Utesches have worked tirelessly for years to raise awareness of the environmental impact of CAFOs and the overuse of antibiotics in livestock. The MRSA Survivors Network honors and commends them for raising the alarm and their dedication to educating the public for antibiotic stewardship for livestock, humans and the environment.
Kewaunee C.A.R.E.S. has been an alliance partner with MRSA Survivors Network since 2015. For more information visit mrsasurvivors.org.