19 Jun 2014

Antimicrobial resistance worries vets

3:35 pm on 19 June 2014

Growing resistance to antimicrobials has vets worried

The New Zealand Veterinary Association at its annual conference in Hamilton this week, regards it as one of the greatest threat to human and animal health.

Bacteria, which is the major cause of disease develops the ability to withstand the antibiotic used to control them.

Dr Stephen Page.

Dr Stephen Page. Photo: RNZ

Keynote speaker at the conference, Australian vet, Stephen Page said that while the problem in animals is not nearly as great as in humans, farmers and vets can't afford to relax.

"There are long-term strategic things farmers can do particularly in infection control, keeping animals healthy and well-nourished, those sort of things are paramount. Biosecurity, taking particular attention where new animals are sourced".

He said these all reduce the likelihood that you are going to get infection in the first place.

Dr Page said research into antimicrobial resistance is on-going, as new resistances are emerging all the time.

"There was a resistance identified in humans that can affect pigs, so there is the question of resistance starting in humans and transferring to animals".

He says how resistance is selected and how it moves around is very important and there are a lot of questions not being adequately researched.

Dr Page said decisions on the use of antibiotics on the farm should only be made on veterinary medical grounds.

Antimicrobials cover antibiotics, anti-virals, anti-fungals and anti-protozoals