First overarching report on antimicrobial usage and bacterial resistance

by Editor
Monday, July 16, 2007

The English Government has published a new report that combines for the first time a range of information on antimicrobial resistance in bacteria in farmed animals, humans, and food.

Antimicrobials are chemicals such as antibiotics, used in veterinary and human medicine. Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of organisms to resist treatment with antimicrobials. Concern about increasing levels of antimicrobial resistance has been growing for several years.

The report includes information from Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department of Health, Health Protection Agency, Food Standards Agency and other Government agencies including the Devolved Administrations.

The report underlines the Government’s commitment to understanding antimicrobial resistance in the veterinary and human fields, and the relationship between the two. The UK is one of only a few countries worldwide to prepare such a report.

Antimicrobials, especially antibiotics, are important in ensuring good health in both humans and animals and for the first time this report brings together data from both sectors. This is an important report which will help stakeholders see the whole picture of antimicrobial usage, including the level of resistance of microbes to specific antimicrobial agents used in the treatment of both animals and humans.

The findings of the report will be used to monitor trends in patterns of resistance, identify new resistant organisms, and identify the risk factors that can lead to the development of resistance.