Health Care

World Health Organization urges end to antibiotics use in healthy food-producing animals

World Health Organization urges end to antibiotics use in healthy food-producing animals”

But animals are getting much more of the antibiotics than humans.

In the lead-up to World Antibiotic Awareness Week (13-19 November 2017), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) are together calling for responsible use of antibiotics in humans and animals to reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

The WHO said in a statement over-use and misuse of antibiotics in animals and humans was contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance.

This research directly informed the development of WHO's new guidelines. "Strong, sustained action across all sectors is vital if we are to turn back the tide of antimicrobial resistance and keep the world safe", he explained.

USDA agreed with the new World Health Organization guidelines suggesting countries ban the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in livestock, noting that a recently enacted Food and Drug Administration policy already prohibits such practices.

In some countries, approximately 80% of total consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector, largely for growth promotion in healthy animals. There are those concerned increased use may create antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Any further "unsubstantiated" restrictions in antibiotic use beyond those agreed under new antibiotic targets announced recently could make the problem worse, according to the pig industry. "These antibiotics are often the last line, or one of limited treatments, available to treat serious bacterial infections in humans".

The European Union barred the practice in 2006, and a U.S. ban on use of "medically important" antibiotics kicked in at the beginning of this year, according to the WHO. Antibiotics should not be used in these animals for the objective of disease prevention without diagnosis, the directive says.

Healthy animals should only receive antibiotics to prevent disease if it has been diagnosed in other animals in the same flock, herd, or fish population.

In 2006, the European Union went on to ban the use of antibiotics for growth promotion among animals. "Preserving their efficacy and availability through their responsible use associated with good husbandry and prevention practices, is therefore essential to preserve animal health and welfare", highlights Dr Monique Eloit, Director-General of OIE. The WHO wants governments to issue similar bans on the use of antibiotics among healthy animals and also ban the use of the new antibiotics that would be discovered in the future.



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