Foodborne Disease Surveillance

WHO meeting on the medical impact of the use of antimicrobials in food animals, Berlin, Germany, 13-17 October 1997

In October 1997, the World Health Organization convened a meeting of specialists in the areas of developing, licensing and use of antimicrobials in livestock production as well as in clinical microbiology, resistance monitoring and medical infectious disease control. The purpose of this meeting was to examine the question of whether the use of antimicrobials in livestock production contributes to the escalation of antimicrobial resistance in humans.

The objectives of the meeting were to:

  • Obtain an international consensus on priority medical problems arising from the use of antimicrobials in livestock production, and
  • Recommend to WHO the next steps towards the development of guidelines for control and containment of the emergence of medically-relevant antimicrobial resistance in food animals.

Presentations and discussions on the first two days of the meeting reviewed antimicrobial use in food animal production, known and potential medical consequences of the use of antimicrobials in food animal production, and known and potentially-effective corrective and preventive actions to be taken. Subsequently, three working groups drafted reports which were discussed and adopted during the final plenary session:

  • Medical impact of the use of antimicrobials in livestock production;
  • Monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in food animals and food of animal origin; and
  • Risk management at the primary production level: prudent use of antimicrobials.
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