Antimicrobial Resistance: What is the danger?

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Today the concept of «antimicrobial resistance» is increasingly common. The meaning and the danger of it was discussed by The Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders.

Context

Since the 40—s of the last century, antimicrobial agents are actively used in medicine. It was possible to reduce the morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases significantly because of them. However, as a result, there were also side effects — antimicrobial resistance — a mutation of microorganisms, resulting in antimicrobial agents becoming less effective or completely inactive. As early as in the 60-s of the twentieth century, the first reports of bacteria resistance to penicillin appeared.

Over the last few decades, the situation has reached a critical point. Antimicrobial resistance is exacerbating due to excessive and unjustified use of antimicrobials in both human health and agriculture. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people dying each year in the European region from infectious diseases caused by resistant bacterial strains is about 25,000 out of 400,000. Each year about 700,000 people die all over the world from antibiotic—resistant infections.

What is the problem?

Antimicrobial agents for therapeutic and preventive purposes are now a common practice in animal husbandry. Although more and more countries prohibit the use of antibiotics as growth promoters, this practice remains widespread in many parts of the world.

Scientists predict that the use of antibacterial agents in animal husbandry and health care will increase in the coming decades due to economic development, population growth and strong demand for livestock products. Their use in various livestock sectors is expected to double over 20 years.

Accordingly, the more we misuse antimicrobials, the less effective they are as a medication in both animal and human health care.

What should we do?

Currently, the main goal is to reduce the use of antimicrobials. In particular, the Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders joined the project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) “Strengthening national capacities to address Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) risks”. The project aims to:

  • assess the real situation of antimicrobial use in animal husbandry
  • improve the regulatory framework and policy in the country on this issue
  • improve the capacity of national laboratories and monitoring capabilities
  • study best practices and patterns of antimicrobial use, prospects for reducing their use in the future.

Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders — is a non-profit voluntary organization. Established in July 14-th, 2011. At present, AUPB unites 38 farms, supplying over 50% of commercial pork in Ukraine. The main objective of the Association is to protect the rights and interests of pig producers, achieve international standards of production due to the implementation of modern technologies.

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