As World Antibiotic Awareness Week began on Monday, the United Nations, through its Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), called for responsible use of antibiotics in humans and animals to reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance.
Professor Alison Holmes, Director of the NIHR HRPU in Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance, said: "Antibiotic resistance is a serious global threat and we are already seeing its impact first hand in the NHS".
He said patients often fail to get proper advice before using antibiotics, which leads to them taking the drugs for viral infections. The 2017 posters have been published on this site for use around the world as a campaign resource. This stewardship helps to fight resistance because it preserves the usefulness of antibiotics.
Medically important antimicrobials that are not now used in food production should not be used in the future in food production including in food-producing animals or plants. In addition, USDA's Acting Chief Scientist pushed back against the WHO recommendations contending that "The WHO guidelines are not in alignment with US policy and are not supported by sound science", and stating that the "recommendations erroneously conflate disease prevention with growth promotion in animals". "Antibiotics are also commonly used for promoting growth in food animals, one type of use that is not necessary".
They included situations where antibiotics should not routinely be used - such as for upper respiratory tract infections, as topical treatment for surgical wounds and for fever in children without a bacterial infection. Antibiotic resistance arises when bacteria survive despite encountering antibiotic medicines created to kill them. This plan provides a roadmap to identify instances of antibiotic resistance, stop the spread of resistance, and improve the prescribing and use of antibiotics.
"We found two completely unexpected mechanisms that bacteria use to protect themselves from antibiotics".
It remains to be seen whether and to what extent WHO's recommendations will impact US policy in this arena going forward.