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OIE DG presents the organisation’s action in the reduction of biological threats to the press

Focus on biosafety and antimicrobial resistance

Paris, January 11 2012 – At the annual New Year’s Greetings to the press, Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), presented the organisation’s priorities for 2012 in the fight against biological threats.

“Diseases which span animal, human and ecosystems interfaces are numerous and can cause severe health events both in humans and animals”, said Dr Vallat while pointing out that “with 60% of pathogenic agents dangerous for humans having an animal origin there is an urgent need for strengthening and improving the links between public health and animal health systems”.

Dr Vallat reminded that in June 2011, the Ministerial Declaration of the G20 Agriculture Ministers tackled these issues and recognised the importance of “…strengthening (…) international standard setting [bodies] taking into account (…) good governance and official services, since they ensure an early detection and a rapid response to biological threats, facilitate trade flows and contribute to global food security (…) [this] requires further cooperation in strengthening international governance (…) and (…) rules based on scientific standards and recommendations developed by the relevant international standard setting bodies (Codex, OIE and IPPC)”.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR): OIE’s vision
Misuse of antibiotics in human and veterinary medicine can hinder the effective treatment and recovery of illnesses in both humans and animals.

Actions of the OIE in promoting the responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine are:

  • Avoiding hazardous practices such as the non-recommended use and production and smuggling of fake products;
  • Reinforcement of  good governance of Veterinary Services for better control in registration, import, distribution and on-farm use of antimicrobials;
  • Better knowledge and monitoring of the quantities of antimicrobials used in animal husbandry; 
  • Harmonization of national antimicrobial resistance surveillance and monitoring programmes for animals, humans and in the environment, and implementation of international coordination and solidarity programmes;
  • Implementation of risk assessment measures.

The OIE strongly advocates for a broad application of regulatory frameworks for veterinary products. The Codex Alimentarius, FAO and WHO are its key partners in the field of recommendations in the use of antimicrobials to veterinarians and livestock producers, and on risk analysis of residues of veterinary drugs in food products of animal origin and methods for the analysis of these products.

“Antibiotics are not ordinary products and their sale and use cannot be free. An appropriate use by stakeholders that avoids the appearance of resistance requires a long and complex scientific training “, Dr Vallat said. “That is why in the future veterinarians will be requested to better supervise and implement the use of antibiotics everywhere in the world; if not, antibiotics could circulate with no control for example through massive direct purchases by private citizens in the Internet”, he concluded.

In 2013, the OIE will convene a global conference in Paris on the prudent use and monitoring of antimicrobials in animals with the ultimate goal to promote the use of veterinary antimicrobial products through good farming practices worldwide.