The Animal Health Institute (AHI) joins fellow animal health organizations and stakeholders around the world to recognize World Antibiotics Awareness Week, November 18 – 24. From our view on the frontlines of safeguarding animal health, we recognize that antibiotic resistance is a global public health priority, and we support efforts to coordinate actions aimed at reducing the need for antibiotics and ensuring that when antibiotics are used, they are used responsibly.
Since January 1, 2017, the animal health industry in the U.S. has worked cooperatively with the FDA to implement guidances for judicious use that require veterinary oversight for all medically important antibiotics used in animal feed and water.
We also support efforts to better track and understand antibiotic resistance trends, which is why we have been encouraged by data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System that shows that for those pathogens that might transfer from animals to humans, resistance rates in people have been stable or declining. Over the 20-year life of the program, Salmonella resistance in humans has steadily declined. This trend of reduced resistance began long before implementation of FDA’s judicious use program and is evidence that producer-supported antibiotic responsible use programs have been working.
Furthermore, animal health companies are collaborating and coordinating with health care professionals and governments to address antibiotic resistance through a “One Health” approach. We recently sent a joint letter to the Sec. of Health and Human Services advocating for new investments and policies to address antibiotic resistance, which threatens human lives and decades of medical progress.
Ultimately, the best strategy for reducing the threat of antibiotic resistance without compromising animal health is to reduce the need for antibiotics through better prevention, earlier detection, and more efficient treatment. Vaccines are a promising medical approach to reducing the need for antibiotics in food animals.
We will continue to work with veterinarians, producers, and the government to preserve a safe food supply and protect public health through the careful and judicious use of antibiotics that keep food animals healthy. For a safer and healthier future for people and animals, we will continue to invest in ways to maximize the full spectrum of veterinary tools to reduce the need for antibiotics.