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Joint FAO/OIE/WHO Expert Workshop on Non-Human Antimicrobial Usage and Antimicrobial Resistance: Scientific assessment

Geneva, December 1 – 5, 2003






Antimicrobial agents are essential drugs for human and animal health and welfare. Antimicrobial resistance is a global public health concern that is impacted by both human and non-human antimicrobial usage. Antimicrobial agents are used in food animals, including from aquaculture, companion animals and horticulture to treat or prevent disease. Antimicrobial agents are sometimes used in food animals to promote growth. The types of antimicrobials used are frequently the same as, or closely rela ted to, antimicrobials used in humans.

The expert workshop concluded that there is clear evidence of adverse human health consequences due to resistant organisms resulting from non-human usage of antimicrobials. These consequences include infections that would not have otherwise occurred, increased frequency of treatment failures (in some cases death) and increased severity of infections, as documented for instance by fluoroquinolone resistant human Salmonella infections. Evidence shows th at the amount and pattern of non-human usage of antimicrobials impact on the occurrence of resistant bacteria in animals and on food commodities and thereby human exposure to these resistant bacteria. The foodborne route is the major transmission pathway for resistant bacteria and resistance genes from food animals to humans, but other routes of transmission exist. There is much less data available on the public health impact of antimicrobial usage in aquaculture, horticulture and companion an imals.




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