Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/27/2009
Publication Date: 5/27/2009
Citation: Cray, P.J. 2009. Balancing Human and Animal Health. International Conference on the Use of Antimicrobials in Cattle Production. P. 23-58. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Bacteria and antibiotics have likely co-existed since the beginning of time; one seeks only to survive (bacteria) while the other (antibiotics) serves multiple functions. The discovery of antimicrobials began a ‘golden age’ in medicine as previously untreatable diseases were cured. Animals benefited shortly thereafter as veterinarians began routine use of these compounds. Unfortunately, bacteria develop mechanisms of resistance almost as fast as new drugs come to market. Today, the luster of the ‘golden age’ has dimmed as both medical and veterinary communities scramble to arrest the ever increasing problem of antimicrobial resistance. Initially, the numbers and types of antimicrobials increased exponentially. However, for the past two decades the introduction of new, and the efficacy of existing, antimicrobials has dramatically declined. Globally, health officials are continuing to develop policy to arrest the spread of antimicrobial resistance while increasing the call for production of newer and better treatments. Because resistance is now emerging faster than the time it takes to bring new compounds to market, human and veterinary voices can be at odds as both sides balance their needs to use antimicrobials with the global need to slow/prevent emerging resistance. Compounding the issue is the need to regulate use in both developed and underdeveloped countries. Can we achieve balance and restore the ‘lost luster’ that once looked so promising? The answer lies in understanding the consequences associated with limiting use of antimicrobials in human and veterinary medicine and finding ways to encourage investment in antimicrobial discovery.