Antibiotic Use Calls for Collaborative Approach

November 15, 2012 07:50 AM

Source: National Institute for Animal Agriculture

The message emerging from the “A One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Use & Resistance: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose” symposium, Nov. 13-15, in Columbus, Ohio, was clear: Antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance are the responsibility of all communities—human health, animal health and environmental health—and solutions will require collaboration of these health communities.

At the end of the three-day symposium, which was coordinated by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, presenters and participants agreed on numerous points:

• Antibiotics dramatically improve human, animal and plant health, and increase life expectancy.

• Antimicrobial resistance is not going to go away.

• A historical look at antimicrobial resistance shows antimicrobial resistance is not a new phenomenon but existed before mankind.

The topic of antimicrobial resistance can be subtle, complex, difficult and polarizing. It is more than science and evidence. It’s about politics, behavior, economics and conflicting opinions.
Antimicrobial resistance is not merely a consequence of use; it’s a consequence of use and misuse—and each community—animal health, human health or environmental health—is responsible for antibiotic stewardship.

The finger pointing and blame for antimicrobial resistance need to end. The time has come to work together. “Finding a solution is not about compromise; it’s about reaching agreement,” stated Dr. Lonnie King, Dean of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. “We (animal health, human health and environmental health communities) need to focus on interests and not positions and initiate options for mutual gain. We need to find common ground—something we all can agree to when we disagree on other issues.”

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture provides a forum for building consensus and advancing proactive solutions for animal agriculture—the beef, dairy, swine, sheep, goats, equine and poultry industries—and provides continuing education and communication linkages for animal agriculture professionals. NIAA is dedicated to programs that work toward the eradication of disease that pose risk to the health of animals, wildlife and humans; promote a safe and wholesome food supply for our nation and abroad; and promote best practices in environmental stewardship, animal health and well-being. NIAA members represent all facets of animal agriculture.


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