Experts gather to fight antimicrobial resistance

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The national president of the Australian Veterinary Association, Dr Paula Parker, is to attend tomorrow’s Antimicrobial Resistance Summit in Melbourne—a meeting of human and animal health experts to discuss the actions that need to be taken in Australia to tackle the global problem of antibiotic resistance.

“The veterinary profession has long been proactive in working alongside human health experts to fight antibiotic resistance at every opportunity,” Dr Parker said.

In 2015, the Australian government released its first ever National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy to guide its response to the threat of antibiotic misuse and resistance. Veterinarians were involved in the development of this strategy, which includes priorities for action relating to antibiotic use in animals.

“Australian veterinarians have judicious use guidelines in place that inform their use of antibiotics,” Dr Parker said. “These guidelines help to ensure we’re not overprescribing or misusing antibiotics. The AVA has also embarked on a three-year project in partnership with Animal Medicines Australia to develop best-practice antibiotic prescribing guidelines for horses and the main livestock species.”

Dr Parker added that Australia is part of a select group of countries including Iceland, New Zealand, Sweden and Finland that have a low-level of use of antibiotics in animals compared with much of the rest of the world, and levels of important resistances are low. This is a great achievement, she said, “but we can’t stop there; it’s important that we continue to improve on what we’re doing to combat antimicrobial resistance.

“The key for vets is to work with farmers and pet owners every day to prevent illness and disease in Australian animals by ensuring best practice infection prevention and control and providing nutritious diets, vaccinations, good husbandry, and stress-free environments.”

Based on a media release sourced from the AVA.

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