Warning to farmers of antibiotics' health risk

Reuters
The World Health Organization on Tuesday urged farmers to stop using antibiotics because the practice fuels dangerous drug-resistant superbug infections in people.
Reuters

The World Health Organization on Tuesday urged farmers to stop using antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals because the practice fuels dangerous drug-resistant superbug infections in people.

Describing a lack of effective antibiotics for humans as “a security threat” on a par with “a sudden and deadly disease outbreak,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO, said “strong and sustained action across all sectors” was vital to turn back the tide of resistance and “keep the world safe.”

The WHO said it “strongly recommends an overall reduction in the use of all classes of medically important antibiotics in food-producing animals, including complete restriction of these antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention without diagnosis.”

Any use of antibiotics promotes the development and spread of so-called superbugs — multi-drug-resistant infections that can evade the medicines designed to kill them.

In some countries, about 80 percent of all consumption of medically important antibiotics is in the animal sector, said the WHO. They are largely used in healthy animals to stop them from getting sick and to hasten their growth.

The WHO said such use should be halted completely. In sick animals, tests should first be done to determine the most effective and prudent antibiotic to treat their specific infection, it added.

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