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French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety

Third edition of ANSES's seminar on antimicrobial resistance and animal health: substantial progress but continued effort needed19 November 2012

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News of 19/11/2012

Antimicrobial resistance is a major globally-acknowledged issue for human and animal health, with the emergence and the growing spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Since 2009, ANSES has convened stakeholders interested in this topic in the area of animal health for European Antibiotic Awareness Day. This event, which is now closely linked to a research and risk assessment context, was held today. It was an opportunity to present the yearly report on the work by the Agency and its partners in the field of antimicrobial resistance. Although the effects of improvements made over the last few years have begun to bear fruit, especially in terms of animal exposure to antibiotics, the efforts currently under way must continue.

Over the last several years, the emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics, both in humans and animals, has become a major concern for public health and animal health. Certain emerging bacteria can cause therapeutic dead ends leading to critical situations in the treatment of certain serious infections. This issue is therefore the subject of major efforts both in France and throughout the world.

Each year for European Antibiotic Resistance Day, ANSES organises a seminar devoted to discussions and forward study of antimicrobial resistance and its implications for human and animal health. This event, organised today at Maisons-Alfort, drew over 200 attendees and brought together all the stakeholders in animal health, including scientists, policy-makers and professionals in the field. The final objective was to explore new initiatives for improving antibiotic use in veterinary medicine.

This year once again, the event was an opportunity for the ANSES teams involved in this topic, which the Agency has placed at the forefront of its priorities since 2011, to present their work. The morning was devoted to the presentation of ANSES's work on the monitoring of antibiotic consumption and resistant bacteria. The methods which have been implemented by the Agency for several years in the area of veterinary medicine with regard to these issues have now made it possible to provide an annual scoreboard and to identify both the areas where progress has been achieved and the areas where improvements still need to be made with regard to responsible antibiotic use.
Driven by alerts issued by the Agency, by control plan elaboration efforts initiated by professionals and by the implementation of the Ecoantibio 2017 plan by the Ministry of Agriculture, initial areas of improvement, especially with regard to animal exposure to antibiotics, have been identified. However, the data collected via these tools also confirm concerns already expressed in the past by the Agency with regard to the continued heavy use of certain antibiotic classes considered as critical for human health (latest-generation cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones), although their use has dropped markedly in certain sectors. The efforts initiated several years ago should therefore continue.
Surveys and research programmes more specifically targeting a certain animal species (horses, poultry), antibiotic (3rd generation cephalosporins) or microorganism (Mycoplasma, Campylobacter, Salmonella) were also presented. The presentations illustrated a certain number of new challenges for surveillance, such as resistant mycoplasma in cattle.
Lastly, presentations by the European Food Safety Authority and by a Dutch researcher positioned the Agency's work within a European context, which is necessary for effective understanding of this issue.

The afternoon was devoted to a more forward-looking approach, with the presentation of research work conducted by ANSES, INRA and other European teams, in order to better comprehend the mechanisms behind bacterial resistance, bacterial transmission between animals and possible modes of transmission of resistant bacteria between animals and humans. This latter point is the main topic explored in the latest issue of the Bulletin Epidémiologique, Santé animale - alimentation [Epidemiological Bulletin, Animal Health and Food] (no. 53), ANSES - DGAL. Copies of this publication were made available during the event.

As was the case in the previous years for the event, the conference was an opportunity for fruitful exchanges among stakeholders from the animal production sectors, invited speakers and the attendees with regard to the measures to be implemented in pursuit of this common goal: preserving the effectiveness of antibiotics in both a public health and an animal health context.

Find out more

>Event participant file (in french only)

>Our close-up on antimicrobial resistance

>2011 report by the Network for the surveillance of antimicrobial resistance in pathogenic bacteria of animal origin (in French)