Can Addressing Antibiotic Use in Animals Help Stall Resistance?
NOV 02, 2017 | CONTAGION® EDITORIAL STAFF
James S. Lewis, PharmD, FIDSA, explains why addressing issues surrounding antibiotic use in veterinary medicine is crucial in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):
"The issue surrounding the antibiotic use on the veterinary side is massive and has really flown under the radar for far too long. If you look at the percentage of total tons of antibiotics and where they go in the United States, a huge fraction of that goes into the veterinary and animal area.
And so, I think to think that we’re going to somehow slow down resistance without addressing this issue, is foolish. The Europeans I think have done a much better job than we have done in the United States of starting to move in these directions already restricting a lot of antibiotics that are very similar to those used in humans on the veterinary side. And so, I think further regulation on the veterinary side is absolutely needed and absolutely warranted. The problem is, how do you do that?
I mean, we don’t have enough veterinarians to be seeing every animal that potentially needs an antibiotic, and we have to be sensitive to the farmers and the food development processes and whatnot that are potentially impacted by this decision. But I think again, complicated issue, going to require I think some fairly sophisticated thought to go into how to best solve it. But there is no way we get our arms around this emerging resistance problem without addressing where up to 50% of our antibiotics are going, and that’s into animals.”
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