Antibiotic resistance

Nowadays, antibiotic resistance is one of the most serious threads for global health, food safety and overall development of the society. It can affect anyone of any age and in any country. The correct diagnosis is the fundamental precondition for the targeted and thorough treatment which prevents development of antibiotic resistance.

Development of antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon. Often, an incorrect use of antibiotics in animals and humans accelerates this process. An increasing number of infections, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea or salmonellosis are more and more difficult to treat because the antibiotics used for treatment lose their efficacy.

Antibiotic resistance leads to a prolonged hospitalization, increased costs of the medical treatment and higher mortality. Antibiotics are dugs used for treatment and prevention of bacterial infections. Resistance occurs when drugs are being used in an incorrect way; bacteria develop in reaction to this and become resilient. It is bacteria, not animals or humans, that become resistant. They can then cause infections in humans or animals which are more difficult to treat compared to those caused by non-resistant bacteria.  

It is urgently necessary to change the approach how to prescribe and use these substances all over the world. Even when new antibiotics are developed, resistance will remain the serious threat without change in our behaviour. This progress must comprise measures to minimize the spread of infections (including vaccination, hand hygiene, safer sex and correct food hygiene) and the strict use of antibiotics in indicated cases only.  

To prevent and combat the spread of antibiotic resistance, agriculture can: 

  • Administer antibiotics to animals under veterinarian’s supervision only 
  • Stop using antibiotics as growth promoters or for prevention of diseases 
  • Vaccinate animals to decrease the need for antibiotics
  • Use alternatives to these drugs if available (for example herbal products) 
  • Support and implement proven procedures at every stage of production and processing of food of animal and plant origin
  • Increase biosecurity on farms to prevent infections; this can be achieved by better animal hygiene and good living conditions for animals