Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Michael McBride and Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Robert Huey joined forces today on European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) to highlight the need for prudent antibiotic use in animals as well as humans.
EAAD is a Europe wide public health initiative and the messages from both CMO and CVO are that we all must use antibiotics responsibly to ensure they remain effective.
Dr Michael McBride said: "We all need to work together and take responsibility for the correct use of antibiotics to slow down the rate that bacteria are becoming resistant. Many existing antibiotics are becoming less effective and inappropriate use has made the problem worse.
"We therefore need to conserve the antibiotics that we have left by using them as wisely as possible.
"The Public Health Agency (PHA) and Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) have developed a short youtube video explaining the importance of antibiotics and provides simple steps to follow to preserve these valuable medicines which I would recommend viewing."
PHA and HSCB have developed resources for healthcare providers, including refreshed prescribing guidelines and also a range of information leaflets for members of the public. These include information on how to manage common infections without antibiotics.
The resources can be found on the Public Health Agency website.
As part of EAAD the Antibiotic Guardian Campaign continues and calls on everyone (the public, animal and human healthcare communities) to become Antibiotic Guardians. Everyone, including the public can make a pledge at the antibiotic guardian website.
Dr McBride encouraged: "We invite the public, students and educators, farmers, the veterinary and medical communities and professional organisations, to become Antibiotic Guardians which is a demonstration of their commitment to making better use of these valuable medicines."
Chief Veterinary Officer, Robert Huey added "I am fully supportive of European Antibiotic Awareness Day as it provides everyone in the livestock industry with the opportunity to stop and think about whether they are using antibiotics responsibly.
"Antimicrobial resistance is a serious threat to the availability and effectiveness of veterinary medicines so it is important that antibiotics are used responsibly when treating bacterial infections in animals.
"Good bio-security practices, nutrition, hygiene and animal husbandry also all play a major part in preventing disease and therefore reduce the need for antibiotics in the livestock industry.
"In support of European Antibiotic Awareness Day I would encourage everyone in the industry to sign up to the Antibiotic Guardian pledge available on the DARD website."
Further advice and information on antimicrobial resistance in animals is also available on the DARD website.
Notes to editors:
- European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) has been held annually on the 18 November since 2008 to raise awareness and encourage responsible use of antibiotics.
- The Antibiotic Guardian pledge has been established in the UK since 2014. It calls on everyone in the UK to become antibiotic guardians by choosing one simple pledge about how they will make better use of these vital medicines. The pledge can be made at the antibiotic guardian website.
- The PHA/HSCB video can be viewed on youtube.
- The refreshed Management of Infection Guidelines, information leaflets for members of the public and other resources are available on the Public Health Agency website.
- Guidance on the responsible use of antimicrobials in livestock and other advice and information on antimicrobial resistance in animals can be found on the DARD website at www.dardni.gov.uk
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