Posted May 15, 2014
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report on global antimicrobial resistance (AMR) concluding that AMR threatens the effective treatment and prevention of an increasing range in infections. The report is available here.
The report, “produced in collaboration with Member States and other partners, provides for the first time, as accurate a picture as is presently possible of the magnitude of AMR and the current state of surveillance globally.”
The report concludes that resistance to common bacteria “has reached alarming levels in many parts of the world and that in some settings, few, if any, of the available treatments option remain effective for common infections.” The report also finds that the monitoring of antibacterial resistance is lacking and there are many gaps in information.
In the United States, efforts from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state governments, and industry are working to halt antibiotic resistance by phasing out the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals, according to an article by the Des Moines Register available here.
After a CDC report, the FDA asked 26 companies to “stop labeling pharmaceuticals used to treat infections in humans as acceptable for growth production in animals.” The companies “had the option of withdrawing them from animal use entirely or changing the labeling so they can only be administered with a prescription from a veterinarian.” Most of the companies have agreed to the changes.
“It’s the right decision for the industry,” Jeff Simmons, president with Elanco, said in an interview. “We would not want the alternative, which is, “Let’s go down the more extreme road and ban (them),’ and then farmers all over the United States wouldn’t have an option” to treat their animals when they get sick.
The California Senate recently passed a bill to restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals for growth enhancement. Food companies like Chick-fil-A are also promising to serve antibiotic free meat products.
For more information on antibiotic use in agriculture, an article from the Congressional Research Service is available here.