Risk assessment provides insights into antibiotic resistance

Published on February 01, 2001
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A new risk assessment model that can assist policy makers in the effort to recognize and ultimately mitigate factors affecting foodborne illnesses was presented Dec 6, 2000 at a meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis in Washington, DC. Tony Cox, PhD, president of Denver-based telecommunications consulting company Cox Associates, prepared the model, titled "A dynamic simulation model of CP illnesses."

The model quantifies the relationship between multiple risk factors in the production and preparation of poultry, Campylobacter jejuni diagnosis, and flouroquinolone prescription practices that affect possible excess days of C jejuni illness in humans.

"The simulation model addresses the impacts on microbial load and risk of factors such as transportation, processing, refrigeration, and preparation practices, not quantified in other models. In addition to providing a more comprehensive picture of risk to humans from use of antibiotics in animals, the simulation model shows how changing in risk factors changes human health impacts," Dr. Cox said. "This information can help shape food safety policy that concentrates on the areas most likely to significantly increase the safety of the food supply."

Dr. Cox holds degrees in risk analysis, operations research and mathematical economics. His new model was funded, in part, by the Animal Health Institute.