Weekly Overview: US Tackles Antibiotic Use; More Firms Opt for 'Stalls-Free' Pork

GLOBAL - The US has set up a new national plan to combat antibiotic resistance, covering both the medical and veterinary sectors. UK researchers have linked the emergence of a human disease (bacterial meningitis) with the intensification of pig production, plus we provide updates on new outbreaks of PED and ASF.
calendar icon 7 April 2015
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Smarter and more judicious use of antibiotics as well as a 'One Health' approach to disease surveillance will help to slow the emergence of resistant bacteria.

These are two of the main targets for tackling antibiotic resistance in the United States over the next five years, as laid out recently in the 'National Action Plan for Combatting Antibiotic Bacteria'.

The policy recommendations follow a reports from the US President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

Over the next year, the US is expected to double the amount of funding for combating and preventing antibiotic resistance to more than $1.2 billion.

The secretaries for Health, Agriculture and Defense added that because antibiotic resistance is a global problem, it requires global solutions and so the US will engage with foreign ministries and institutions to strengthen national and international capacities to reduce the threat of antibiotic resistance.

In Norway, two pig herds in Nordland are suspected of harbouring livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA).

The move to rearing pigs in large, indoor groups occurred at the same time as the emergence of bacterial meningitis, a disease affecting both pigs and humans, new research shows.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge in the UK have examined the evolution of Streptococcus suis bacteria since the 1920s, and made the link between the emergence of a group of strains causing meningitis in pigs and the human with the introduction of indoor rearing of pigs in larger groups for meat production.

In other news, two companies have announced they will be using pig meat from "crate-free" sources in future – Dunkin' Donuts and the Hilton hotel chain.

In news of porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED), new outbreaks continue to be reported in the US. Although the rate of new cases is slowing down, a professor at Purdue University has said the virus remains "a significant threat" while the National Pork Producers Council's veterinarian has warned producers not to drop their guard.

New outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) have been reported in the last week in Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

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