Surveillance and One Health in food production key to halting antimicrobial resistance

  09 June 2021

Antimicrobial agents, such as antibiotics, are essential to treating many human and animal infections and diseases. Their overuse and misuse, however, has led to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), meaning that a drug, such as an antibiotic, might no longer be effective in treating the infection. Without urgent action, the world is at risk of becoming a place where common infections are untreatable or even kill, and where complex surgical procedures become life-threatening.

Due to the overuse of antimicrobials, drug-resistant bacteria can be found in animals and food products intended for human consumption. As a result, food has become a potential vehicle for the transmission of resistant pathogens from animals to humans.

Foodborne diseases are a significant public health concern in the WHO European Region. Every year, about 23 million people fall ill by consuming contaminated food and 5000 people die. A substantial proportion of illnesses and deaths from consuming contaminated food are caused by bacteria, such as campylobacter and salmonella, which show increasing levels of resistance to commonly used antimicrobials.

Further reading: WHO
Author(s): WHO
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