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Managing antimicrobials use in animals

Antimicrobial agents are medicines used to treat infections caused by bacteria in particular.  They are essential drugs for animal and public health, but in recent years some bacteria have demonstrated full or partial resistance to different antibiotics. This phenomenon called antimicrobial resistance is a rising concern in both public and animal health.

Many activities in favour of animal health depend on the availability and appropriate use of good quality veterinary medicinal products, including antimicrobial agents. The OIE considers that ensuring appropriate access to effective antimicrobial agents to treat animal diseases is vital, but stresses the necessity to control it through the intervention of veterinarians.

In 2003 the OIE convened an ad hoc Group on Antimicrobial Resistance which updated 4 relevant chapters of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code and proposed a list of Critically Important Antimicrobials for Veterinary Use. The World Assembly of OIE national Delegates adopted these standards as well as the list of antibiotics in 2007.

OIE is already engaged in preventing antimicrobial resistance worldwide through different actions:

  • Promotion of responsible and prudent use of antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine; and therefore avoid hazardous practices;
  • Reinforcement of  good governance of Veterinary Services;
  • Better knowledge and monitoring of the quantities of antimicrobials used in animal husbandry;
  • Harmonization of national antimicrobial resistance surveillance and monitoring programmes, and implementation of international coordination programmes;
  • Implementation of risk assessment measures.

What does OIE do on AMR?

OIE recognises that antimicrobial resistance is a global human and animal health concern and promotes the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials to preserve their therapeutic efficacy in both animals and humans.

The OIE recommends permanent risk assessment is carried out in parallel with the use of antibiotics which ensure the health and welfare of animals, in the context of a growing demand for noble proteins worldwide.

The Organisation organised the first Global Conference on the prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine in Paris in March 2013. National, regional and global experts and stakeholders in the field of pharmacology, epidemiology, animal health and human health, discussed the current situation on antimicrobial use worldwide and antimicrobial resistance.

More information on OIE's action.


Standards, Recommendations
and Work of the OIE to fight antimicrobial resistance

OIE list of antimicrobial agents of veterinary importance

Collaboration with the public health sector

The Codex Alimentarius, FAO and WHO are key partners of the OIE in the field of recommendations for veterinarians and livestock producers, and in particular on risk analysis of residues of veterinary drugs in food products of animal origin and methods for the analysis of these products.

Within the framework of their tripartite Alliance, the FAO, OIE and WHO recognize their respective responsibilities in the fight against anti-microbial resistance, which constitutes one of the three priority areas of work, defined in their FAO/OIE/WHO Tripartite Concept Note (April 2010).

They published an informative fact sheet presenting their joint activities in this area.

FAO/OIE/WHO fact sheeton the fight against antimicrobial resistance