During our VC 2022 week, this webinar, presented by Andrea Turner, had the aim of giving an overview of why antimicrobial resistance on farms is important and what threat it poses to people. There was also an overview of particular risk factors for the presence and development of antimicrobial resistance on farms.

This issue is of great importance to all of us as it is estimated that by 2050 antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will be the most common cause of death in humans, surpassing cancer. AMR is going to be a major challenge for all of us.

Both veterinarians and people who have regular contact with animals are going to start sharing the same bacteria. We know that there are many ways of transmitting this antibiotic resistance through the products that we consume. This not only extends to meat or dairy products, but through the faeces of these animals, the products that we eat from the ground can also generate this resistance. There is already evidence that bacteria can develop antimicrobial resistance through food producing animals.

The webinar goes on to explain the role of a veterinarian in AMR and how over the years the use of antibiotics on farms has been decreasing but has the decrease in antibiotic use really helped us against AMR, Andrea asks.

Types of resistances being investigated:

  • ESBL: produces an enzyme which can hydrolyse penicillins and cephalosporins.
  • CTX-M ESBL: resistant to most third and fourth generation cephalosporins.
  • Amp C: hydrolyse narrow-, broad-, and expanded-spectrum cephalosporins and resist inhibition by clavulanate.
  • CMY-2 is the Amp C Beta-lactamase with the widest global distribution.

Some of the risk factors for AMR on individual farms are:

  • The type of antibiotic used
  • The type of prophylaxis
  • The method of use whether topical or parenteral
  • Farm husbandry
  • Calf rearing
  • Dry cow management
  • Farm hygiene

Other factors could be the fomites, what is being brought onto the farm, the animals being purchased, whether they are complying with the quarantine time, slurry, wildlife, waterways and footpaths.

Andrea shows several studies and case scenarios of farms where antibiotic resistance has occurred in different parts of the world and covers the risk factors mentioned above. She also gives a list of studies that have contributed to this important work for if you wish to investigate this further. Andrea also shows some studies on other species that may be bringing antimicrobial resistance to farms.

For more information on antimicrobial resistance, I recommend you take the time to watch this webinar.