The responsible and prudent use of antibiotics, in both people and animals, is crucial, not only in the interests of human health but also for animal health and animal welfare.
With 60 per cent of human pathogens coming originally from animals, it is clear that bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics pose a serious threat to the treatment of both animal and human diseases throughout the world.
To mark this special week, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) is making publicly available a dedicated internet portal, along with new posters and infographics, to enable national authorities, veterinarians, breeders and animal owners to take a more effective role in counteracting the major threat to public health posed by antimicrobial resistance.
"Ensuring the responsible and prudent use of antibiotics for animals is essential to protect their effectiveness, not only for animal health and animal welfare but also for human health.
"This is why we need better controls on the production, registration, importation, distribution and use of antibiotics, as well as good legislation, qualified veterinarians and a well-organised veterinary profession to oversee their use in animals," pointed out Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE.
The OIE has been working for more than ten years to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics in animals and has published intergovernmental standards in this field, in close collaboration with its international network of experts.
These standards, updated in May 2015, have been adopted by all of the OIE’s 180 Member Countries, which have undertaken to implement them in their own territories. These standards also form the foundation of the OIE’s contribution to the development of the veterinary component of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance.
To encourage close cooperation between the human and animal health sectors on this topic, posters, available on the OIE portal, were designed in conjunction with WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), under the framework of WHO’s ‘Handle Antibiotics with Care’ campaign.
Detailed infographics explain the essential elements required by each country to ensure the responsible and prudent use of antibiotics within its territory.