Veterinarians continue to be committed to responsible and judicious use of antimicrobials

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The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), representing European veterinarians, celebrates European Antibiotic Awareness Day and reiterates the commitment to achieve the One-Health goals on fighting antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Within the “One Health” context, it is important to use the medicines prudently in both humans and in animals. Infectious diseases in people and animals are often the same or very similar and the same applies for their treatment. Antimicrobials are very valuable for the treatment of infectious diseases in both humans and animals.

Their improper use, however, may trigger the reaction of the disease agents, which develop mechanisms to defend themselves and become resistant against treatment. As a result, the medicine becomes less effective. That is why keeping antimicrobials effective, requires everyone’s attention to avoid their overuse or misuse in both animals and people and preserve their efficacy.

FVE is strongly committed to the “One Health” approach and has been intensively promoting responsible use, through awareness campaigns, guidelines, and policy papers. The ‘European Commission Final Overview Report – Measures to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance through the Prudent Use of Antimicrobials in Animals’ recognises this valuable contribution of the animal health sector towards improving animal health, minimising disease and therefore the need to use antibiotics.

This progress has been demonstrated in numbers. The latest ESVAC report shows a decrease by more than 32% of the overall sales of veterinary antimicrobials between 2011 and 2017 and a continuing reduction in use of antimicrobials that are considered as critical, for the 31 countries across Europe that provided data during this period.

Nevertheless, looking at antimicrobial resistance rates, it is clear that we are still far from reaching our goal. The latest European Court of Auditors report concludes that “while EU action has led to some progress, especially on veterinary issues, there is little evidence that the health burden of antimicrobial resistance has been reduced”. FVE is well aware that despite all efforts made so far, we still need to enforce a true implementation of One Health in practice by joining forces with everyone involved in human and animal healthcare to achieve the goals on fighting AMR. The next goal is to get a better insight in antibiotic use per animal species and the impact on antimicrobial resistance. Special attention will be given to support high usage countries in their efforts.