As we think this topic has the potential to affect your farm (even if you are not in the EU) we have put together everything you need to know about AMR.
Background: what is AMR?
ECDC (European Centre for Disease Control) warned that bacteria in humans, food and animals continued to show resistance to the most widely known antimicrobials. What does this mean? It means that the treatments that once were effective are now start losing their effectiveness, as microbes have developed resistance against them. AMR stands for Anti Microbials Resistance, and it develops naturally over-time, usually through genetic changes, and can accelerate when antimicrobials are overused or misused.
Figure 1: How AMR develops
What has been done so far to prevent or fight against AMR?
Some Governments (The EU particularly) and Associations (IDSA Infectious diseases society of America) have put in place actions to inform and fight against AMR. Being Humans health a member state Competence in EU (see Articles 6 and 168 of the Treaty on the functioning of EU), this has led its Parliament to start a campaign against the misuse of antibiotics which culminates in a regulation approved in December 2018 and will come into force at the end of 2021. It is as complicated to fight against AMR as it is challenging to apply good infections prevention while using the existing antimicrobials prudently and only when needed, but the regulations put in place asks this.
The non-therapeutic use of antibiotics is phasing-out. They need to be used only when there is a high risk of infection and veterinaries must now approve and justify their adoption.
But the EU Government is committed to financing the Research about the study of new antimicrobials.
How can this affect dairy farms?
Antibiotics are sometimes used as a catch all approach in dairy cows. This is commonly the case of farms with outdated facilities or where management is poor or uneducated. By far the most common time when a catch all approach is carried out is at drying off with the use of a long acting antibiotic. But this practice is become far less common with farmers turning to teat sealant products to preserve udders health thought the dry period. Most risky is probably the case when farmers feed calves with cows’ milk treated with antibiotics as it also brings antibiotic resistance on to their own farms which would be very counter-intuitive.
It's a very complex topic. Experts said that, unless anyone takes any action soon, the AMR will lead us back to the Middle Age in terms treating infections. We are going to suggest some recommendations based on experts (and our experts) knowledge. Do not miss the next series of posts that will help you learn how to fight against AMR and keep up with this current event as it unfolds!
Date: 21 July 2020