We need to be prudent in the way we use antibiotics.

Another timely reminder.

From: “Dr. David Scarfe”
Date: 16 December 2014 5:52:13 AWST
Subject: AquaVetMed e-News: Antibiotics in Aquaculture – Are They Needed? / Global Shift to Antibiotic-free Production

December 15, 2014
Antibiotics in Aquaculture – Are They Needed?

The miracle drugs of the 20th century are in danger of running out of power. Antibiotic use in both humans and animals is contributing to a reservoir of resistant bacteria resulting in increased human mortality and increased hospital stay lengths globally, writes Øistein Thorsen in October 2014 edition of Sustainable Aquaculture Digital. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns the misuse of antimicrobial medicines and new resistance mechanisms are “making the latest generation of antibiotics virtually ineffective”, while at the 2013 G8 Summit, scientific ministers issued a statement calling antimicrobial resistance (AMR) “a major health security challenge of the twenty first century.”

Antibiotic use is an integral part of intensive animal agriculture and aquaculture. Increased public concern about antibiotic resistance and the need to preserve the ever-diminishing arsenal of antimicrobials that work in humans for as long as possible, has brought about increased scrutiny of the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture – especially for prophylactic and growth enhancing purposes. The mechanisms by which antimicrobial resistant bacteria, initially derived from food-producing animals, contribute to the emergent and increasing threat of antibiotic resistance in people are complex and varied. The main routes bacteria can take to move from animals to humans include via food or other animal product contamination, occupational exposure for farm workers and fish keepers, abattoir workers, veterinary surgeons and health workers. Bacteria can also transmit through environmental contamination like manure containing resistant bacteria, resistance genes, and antibiotic residues, along with recreational pursuits like swimming and fishing. The prevention of buildup of resistant bacteria in waterways as a result of fish farming practices, terrestrial agriculture run-off or sewage outflow surrounding fish farms is a major concern for the aquaculture industry.

Despite difficulties of measuring the exact contribution of animal agriculture and aquaculture to the overall development of antimicrobial resistance, a consensus is emerging around the need for everyone to use these powerful drugs carefully and responsibly, especially those deemed critically important for human health by the WHO. With the explosive growth in production and demand for farmed seafood, how can the aquaculture industry lead the charge for responsible use of antibiotics without compromising food safety, the environment and human health, as well as animal health, welfare and productivity?

See the source (http://tinyurl.com/oaqbql4) for more information on Current Use in Aquaculture, Bad Data, The Certification Approach, & The Path of Least Resistance.

See a related story “A global shift to antibiotic free production” at http://tinyurl.com/jvtwvm2.
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