Weekly Overview: World Antibiotic Awareness Week Urges Farming Industry to Make a Difference

ANALYSIS - This week (16-22 November) marks the world's first World Antibiotic Awareness Week, launched to raise awareness of best practice for using antibiotics, to reduce the risks of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics and to prolong their effectiveness.
calendar icon 16 November 2015
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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," said Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE.

In the UK, the Pig Health and Welfare Council (PHWC) Antimicrobial Sub-group and the Pig Veterinary Society have published a new guide to help pig producers cut their antimicrobial use.

Sub-group chairman John FitzGerald said: “The PHWC supports the responsible use of antibiotics. This means minimising the need to use antibiotics by managing the farm to reduce the risk of disease challenge and using them properly to maintain animal health and welfare.

“We are delighted to launch this guidance which will help vets and farmers to review their antibiotic use regularly and to consider ways in which this could be optimised without harming the pigs.”

In other news, MSD Animal Health has entered into an agreement to acquire Harrisvaccines, a privately-held company that develops, manufactures and sells vaccines for food production and companion animals.

Rick DeLuca, president, MSD Animal Health, explained: “Combining Harrisvaccines’ R&D and portfolio of products with our strong capabilities and global reach will enable us to address even more devastating diseases that are impacting production animals and reinforce our commitment to the science of healthier animals.”

In disease news, there were African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks in Russia, Poland and Latvia over the past week.

In Latvia and Poland, the outbreaks effected wild boar. In Russia, outbreaks effected both wild boar and farmed pigs.

The Russian veterinary authority Rosselkhoznador accused the EU this week of ignoring advice on ASF control.

Rosselkhoznador said that the agency’s advice had “not been heard” and as a consequence ASF got a foothold in the Baltic states and Ukraine and had spread rapidly.

The agency said it was particularly concerned about the control of the disease and the efforts to slaughter affected animals in Latvia and Estonia in areas bordering Pskov and Leningrad regions in Russia, where there are a large number of pig farms.

Also this week, veterinarians John Carr and Mark Howells discuss the importance of truck hygiene in keeping ASF off your farms.

Part three of a four part series, African Swine Fever – Keep it Out - Truck Hygiene looks in detail at how to inspect trucks entering your farm and why it is important.

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