Antibiotics in Animals: Now Harder to Get

Paul G. Auwaerter, MD, MBA


December 26, 2013

Linking Animal and Human Health

It is too early to tell, but one of the more interesting aspects of this problem is the growing recognition that as we face many conditions where the antibiotics supply chain is foreshortened and we are dealing with more antibiotic resistance in many areas -- not only in foodborne pathogens but elsewhere -- other measures are necessary. Perhaps consumers may help drive this.

Some companies already label their meats "antibiotic-free." and this resonates with certain consumer segments. But such entities as One Health may also contribute to change.[6]

I recently visited with Greg Gray at the University of Florida, who is working with Glenn Morris at their Emerging Pathogens Institute. He told me more about the One Health enterprise, which looks at vector-borne diseases, caring for animals, and zoonotic diseases, and links these to human health. Their viewpoint is that it is best to address this with integrated measures rather than separating them into the silo practices that modern medicine seems to relish, with individual departments and so on.

The FDA has certainly taken an important step. This will not affect our traditional medical practices, but perhaps the concept of antibiotic stewardship, which is so well known to many of us in infectious diseases, may be something we should extend into the practice of animal care. A concept such as One Health is clearly a way that taking care of our environment and animals will also have an impact on human health, and vice versa.

Thanks very much for listening.


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