'Resistance to antibiotics could become a bigger public health issue than cancer' Are farmers to blame?
Published 18/11/2016 | 13:09
Farmers are being told that antibiotics are an important resource for the agriculture industry but must be used wisely if they are to remain effective.
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, said antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is being increasingly recognised as one of the world’s biggest problems in terms of human health and could be a bigger threat than cancer.
A recent UK study suggests that AMR will be the leading cause of death in humans by 2050, making it a greater threat than cancer, stated Minister Creed.
Speaking on European Antibiotics Awareness Day, the Minister explained that antimicrobial resistance occurs when microbes that could previously be killed by antibiotics are no longer susceptible.
They have developed resistance, which means that many common bacterial infections are now becoming increasingly difficult to treat.
He went on to explain that this issue is relevant to the agriculture sector because, if AMR is to be tackled effectively, there must be collaboration across the human, veterinary and environmental sectors.
“AMR is a global problem that is not contained by borders or within any one sector. All of the major international plans for dealing with AMR support a 'One Health' approach urging collaboration across the human, veterinary and environmental sectors.
“Therefore, we must all play our part. Insofar as the agriculture sector is concerned, all of us, including Government, the pharmaceutical industry, the veterinary profession, and farmers have a role to play. Behavioural change is never easy, nor is it a short-term project but there must be a combined effort if we are to realistically tackle the problem”.