Australian livestock industries in ‘favorable position’ on antibiotic use

Australia’s first national survey suggests livestock industries have, according to the Bush Telegraph, done a relatively good job of limiting the use of antibiotics.

The survey of 2,600 samples collected through 22 veterinary laboratories around Australia shows a low level of resistance to antibiotics.

ab.use.pigs.austThe labs tested for antibiotic resistance within two types of pathogens – E. coli and Golden Staph (Staphylococcus).

The survey found no resistance to carbapenems, an antibiotic class of last resort in human medicine used against infections when other antibacterial treatments have failed.

However the study identified ‘very low’ frequencies of resistance to other critically important human antimicrobials including fluoroquinolones and 3rd generation cephalosporins.

Professor John Turnidge, senior medical adviser on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, says “what’s encouraging is the levels of resistance to the critical antibiotics for human health are close to zero.

“In part it’s due to the fact that by good foresight, good management, or good luck about 20 years ago for one particular class of antibiotics, we made a decision at a federal level that these shouldn’t be available for use in food animals and I think we’re reaping the benefit of that now.

“I’m embarrassed to say they (livestock industries) have been doing a better job than the human side.”