Agricultural alliance reports on antimicrobial resistance

The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance is in full agreement with Professor Dame Sally Davies' warning about the threat of antimicrobial resistance, which is a serious problem that threatens the efficacy of antibiotics used in both human and animal medicine. Davies, England's Chief Medical Officer, said "Global action is needed to tackle the catastrophic threat of antimicrobial resistance, which in 20 years could see any one of us dying following minor surgery."

The Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture Alliance is in full agreement with Professor Dame Sally Davies' warning about the threat of antimicrobial resistance, which is a serious problem that threatens the efficacy of antibiotics used in both human and animal medicine.

Davies, England's Chief Medical Officer, said "Global action is needed to tackle the catastrophic threat of antimicrobial resistance, which in 20 years could see any one of us dying following minor surgery."

The Department of Health is about to launch the five-year United Kingdom Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy and Action Plan, which will champion responsible use of antimicrobials.

The alliance's Secretary General John FitzGerald welcomed Davies' statement. He said that agriculture had to play its part in protecting the continued efficacy of these important medicines for use in both humans and animals. Resistance is a complex issue and the alliance acknowledges the risk that it can transfer from animals to man and vice versa. As the chief medical officer's report says, the current evidence suggests that the use of antimicrobials in animals is not a major cause of resistance in bacteria that affect human health (at least in the UK). The alliance supports Davies' view that its approach to tackling the problem of antimicrobial resistance must bring together experts in human and animal health to develop joint and complementary initiatives in this field. 

Although the risk of resistance transferring from animals to humans is small, the alliance believes it is important for farmers and vets to work together to use antimicrobials responsibly on farm. This means first reducing the risk of disease by good farm management and then, where prescribed by a vet, using antimicrobials responsibly at the right dose and for the full course of treatment.

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