Wonderments about antimicrobial resistance—how it occurs, the link between resistance and use of antibiotics in humans and animals—have brewed for decades.
“Antibiotic resistance is a complex issue and doesn’t derive from any single source,” according to a summary statement in the White Paper produced by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) symposium on antibiotics last year, which focused on progress in battling antibiotic resistance through shared stewardship. “As such, it is best addressed by a systems-based approach that strives to close gaps of misunderstanding and avoid implementing impetuous remedies that may produce ineffective solutions.”
What’s changing is increased pressure on antibiotic use in food animals.
“Useful baseline information is currently available on antimicrobial drug sales (for agricultural use) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), but limited data are available regarding actual use,” according to the White Paper. “Collecting additional information to link shifts in on-farm antimicrobial use practices with AMR data is a high priority and meaningful metrics are needed to assess the impacts of different antimicrobial use practices on AMR, particularly related to stewardship and policy initiatives.”
That’s why the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University and NIAA are conducting a survey of beef cattle producers to assess producer opinions and use of antibiotics. That’s also why NIAA is hosting another antibiotics symposium—the fifth in as many years—Nov. 3-5 in Atlanta. Titled “Antibiotic Stewardship: From Metrics to Management,” It will again bring together leading researchers, government officials, retailers, and industry professionals in animal and human health.
“This is not just a gathering to discuss the challenges faced by the varied sectors,” says Steve Solomon of Global Public Health Consulting, the event’s moderator. “It is about a rich exchange of information, the development of a metrics framework, and moving forward on this very contentious and vital subject.”
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