Antimicrobial resistance Teagasc Leaflet
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria and viruses) to stop an antimicrobial or antiviral drug from working against it. In this leaflet, authors Dr. Bernie Earley Grange & Aidan Murray Beef Specialist discuss AMR, how to prevent it and advise on antibiotics
View it here: Teagasc AMR Leaflet - September 2021 (PDF)
What is antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
AMR is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria and viruses) to stop an antimicrobial or antiviral drug from working against it.
Other sources of information
The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified antimicrobials with respect to importance for human medicine (WHO) Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance, 2012). Under this system, an antimicrobial that meets both of the following criteria is considered critically important to human health (CIA), or highly important if only one criterion is met: An antimicrobial agent which is the sole, or one of limited available therapy, to treat serious human disease.
Antimicrobial agent is used to treat diseases caused by either:
- organisms that may be transmitted to humans from non-human sources or,
- human diseases caused by organisms that may acquire resistance genes from non-human sources.
Antibiotics are classified into different categories depending on their active substance. The ‘Highest Priority Critically Important Antibiotics’ (HP-CIAs) are reserved for use in humans. The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) published guidelines on the different categories of antibiotics for use in animals (Table 1). The HP-CIA’s are antibiotics of last resort in humans and should not be administered as first-line treatments in animals when other antibiotic categories are more appropriate.
New regulations on veterinary medicines (Regulation (EU) 2019/6) and medicated feed (Regulation (EU) 2019/4) will enter into force within the European Union (EU) from 28 January 2022.
Table 1. DAFM guidelines on the different categories of antibiotics for use in animals
Take home message
- Only give antibiotics to animals under veterinary supervision
- Do not use antibiotics for growth promotion or to prevent diseases in healthy animals
- Vaccinate animals to reduce the need for antibiotics and use alternatives to antibiotics when available
- Promote and apply good practices at all steps of production and processing of foods from animal and plant sources
- Improve biosecurity on farms and prevent infections through improved hygiene and animal welfare
Read more here from Teagasc on What is AMR
Dr. Bernadette Earley is a Research Officer at Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Grange, Dunsany, Co. Meath
Aidan Murray is a Teagasc Beef Specialist at Teagasc, Cavan Lower, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal