MODIFIED EXTRACT FROM THE WHO - World Health Organization
Antibiotic resistance is one of today's most serious threats to global health, food security and the overall development of society. It can affect anyone, at any age and in any country. Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon, but the incorrect use of antibiotics in humans and animals often accelerates the process of its development. An increasing number of infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis or gonorrhea, as well as salmonellosis, are becoming increasingly difficult to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them lose their effectiveness. Antibiotic resistance leads to longer hospitalizations, increased medical costs and higher mortality. Antibiotics are drugs used to treat and prevent bacterial infections. Resistance occurs when bacteria develop in response to the use of these drugs so that they become resistant to them. It is bacteria, not humans or animals, that become resistant. They can then cause infections in humans or animals that are more difficult to treat than those caused by non-resistant bacteria.
There is an urgent need to change the way we prescribe and use these drugs around the world. Even if new antibiotics are developed, resistance will remain a serious threat without changing our behavior. These developments must include measures to reduce the spread of infections, including vaccination, hand washing, safer sex and good food hygiene.
Agriculture should, in preventing and combating the spread of antibiotic resistance,:
prescribe antibiotics to animals only under veterinary supervision; not use antibiotics as growth promoters or to prevent disease in animals; vaccinate animals to reduce the need for antibiotics and use alternatives to these drugs, if available; promote and apply best practices at every stage of the production and processing of food of animal and plant origin; increase biosecurity on farms to prevent infections by improving animal hygiene and welfare.