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Antimicrobial resistance has become a serious problem in the veterinary and medical field. Different studies support the hypothesis of a link between use of antimicrobials in farm animal production and antimicrobial resistance of microorganisms in humans. Resistant microorganisms derived from food animals can have an impact on humans via the food chain, either directly or by transmission of antimicrobial resistance traits to pathogenic and non-pathogenic bacteria in humans (increase of the resistome). Therefore, primary goal has been the prudent use of antimicrobials and/or the restriction of prophylactic and therapeutic use of antimicrobials in food animal production. There is an ongoing discussion
about the veterinary’s role in antimicrobial stewardship. Despite these efforts, we still see a rising trend of antimicrobial resistance in general. Different challenges have to be tackled: i) to develop reliable and fast detection systems to allow a targeted therapy; ii) to implement precautionary measures to prevent infections, e.g. improve animal husbandry conditions, implement vaccination schemes, support the development of a robust immune system in animals; iii) to focus on an intact intestinal microflora as important factor of defense against infections;
iv) to gather data on alternative measures, e.g. application of bacteriophages, pre- and probiotics, bacteriocins; v) to investigate the antimicrobial resistance ecology, such as the resistance gene reservoirs and transmission pathways of antimicrobial resistance.
An interdisciplinary One Health approach and a combined effort of all stakeholders are necessary to ultimately reduce the burden of antimicrobial resistance.