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Agricultural News

Antibiotic Stewardship: From Metrics to Management- a Symposium That Helped Lay the Groundwork for Continued Use of Antibiotics in Animal Ag

Mon, 15 Feb 2016 10:08:59 CST

Antibiotic Stewardship: From Metrics to Management- a Symposium That Helped Lay the Groundwork for Continued Use of Antibiotics in Animal Ag It comes as no surprise to cattle producers and others in the livestock business- but the issue of Antimicrobial Resistance- or AMR- is a complex issue- and while there are lots of questions, animal health and human health professionals are struggling to find many of the answers to those questions.

Last fall, there was a major conference in Atlanta looking at the issue of AMR- and recently, the "white paper" on the outcome of that conference has been released. Your beef checkoff dollars was involved in the funding of the symposium.

Attendees heard presentations from scientists, animal and human health professionals, governmental public health officials, and representatives of companies involved in the animal pro tein supply chain.   These presentations pointed out particularly the dramatic changes which have taken place since the first NIAA antibiotic symposium in 2011:

Animal and human health professionals and medical practitioners are much more aware of the concept of antimicrobial stewardship

Consumers have begun to drive change with their increasing interest in having “antibiotic-free” options at the retail groceries and restaurants

Federal and state governments have instituted a variety of new guidelines and regulations covering both animal and human health pertaining to the labeling and use of antibiotics

The Federal government has issued a new National Strategy and formed an independent advisory panel to address AMR and provide guidance to government agencies

Virtually all stakeholders who use or prescribe antibiotics as well as consumers of healthcare and food products are changing their practices in an ongoing way and adopting new approaches that are highly variable as they seek to conform both to external ex pectations as well as their own evolving understanding of the AMR problem •

Despite the many reports, action plans, meeting and conferences which have taken place and the numerous initiatives announced by both public and private sectors organizations, there is a dearth of established, well - accepted metrics to assess the success of the efforts which are underway and planned.

There were four main takeaways that came out of the meetings in Atlanta. The commitment to antibiotic stewardship from stakeholders throughout a nimal agriculture and the animal protein supply chain is clear and definitive, matching the seriousness and commitment we heard from representatives of human medicine and public health. High priority areas from the roadmap were chosen for metrics development because:

1) AMR and antibiotic use need to be carefully monitored and much better understood,

2) research on devel oping and implementing new, rapid and accurate diagnostic tests for antibiotic resistance that can be used in the field and at the bedside needs to be vigorously supported,

3) similarly, research to find alternatives to antibiotic use, including preventati ve treatments and improved production management practices requires both Federal and private sector support, and

4) the application of new regulations and guidelines will need to be thoughtfully and carefully assessed and assistance will need to be deploy ed to help practitioners and producers fully understand the changing requirements and put them into practice.    

You can read the executive summary of the White Paper by clicking here.



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