Antimicrobial use in food animal production contributes to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in humans due to zoonotic pathogens, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter. Many international bodies have identified monitoring of antimicrobial consumption in food animals as an indispensable prerequisite for the identification of risk factors for the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria and for the evaluation of public health interventions for their containment. Progress needs to be made in strengthening the monitoring of antimicrobial usage at both national and international levels.
WHO has played a major role in increasing awareness on the public health impact of the use of antimicrobials in animal husbandry during the last decade, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The three organizations are now in the process of establishing a tripartite working group on antimicrobial resistance.
WHO strategy to ensure the prudent use of antimicrobials and combat the development of antimicrobial resistance includes the following elements:
- Develop and promote guidelines to minimize and contain AMR arising from use of antimicrobials in food producing animals.
- Develop a list of Critically Important Antimicrobials (CIA) for human health in order to guide risk management strategies for use of similar agents in food animal production and agriculture.
- Provide technical support and capacity building in monitoring AMR through research projects, training activities and reference services of the WHO Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN).
- Establish pilot studies to address lack of data from developing countries for risk assessment.