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Studies needed on pollution from drugs, resistant microbes

Health authorities in the U.S. and U.K. are calling for research on pollution from antimicrobials and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria and fungi.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UK Science & Innovation Network published a joint report with the charitable foundation Wellcome Trust in which the three organizations describe needs for research that could guide action. That includes studies on the presence of antimicrobial-resistant microbes in waterways, methods of sampling for drug resistance in environmental waters, the need for more wastewater treatment and processing, alternatives to antimicrobials on farms, and methods of treating animal and human waste before it is used as fertilizer.

In April 2018, the three organizations hosted an antimicrobial resistance–focused meeting, the International Environmental AMR Forum, in Vancouver, British Columbia. The report published in December, "Initiatives for addressing antimicrobial resistance in the environment: Current situation and challenges," is a product of that meeting.

Bacteria and fungi that infect or colonize animals, including humans, are becoming more resistant to antimicrobials, the report states.

"The connection between human and animal waste in the environment and its impact on human health is not well understood and warrants additional study to address knowledge gaps," the paper states.

That should include identifying types of resistance, concentrations of resistant bacteria, sources of contamination, and how much that resistance persists and travels.

The report is available from the CDC.

ASF detectable in tonsils, spleen for disease tests

The African swine fever virus can be detected in tonsils, spleen tissue, or whole blood during disease investigations.

Department of Agriculture officials have approved sending those tissues to laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network to investigate potential foreign animal disease cases that resemble ASF. Dr. Christina M. Loiacono, coordinator of the network, provided a statement that the USDA is developing a surveillance plan for ASF and will publish an announcement once it is approved.

ASF is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease that has spread in China and Europe. It can cause death with few signs, as well as high fever, diarrhea, abortion, and skin discoloration, among other signs.

NAVTA extends partnership with AVMA

The AVMA will continue to provide management services for the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America for the foreseeable future. As part of the agreement, signed by both associations in late 2018, the AVMA will help NAVTA recruit and select its new executive director. The plan is to select this individual or firm in early 2019.

The AVMA first entered into an agreement with NAVTA in 2017. At that time, the AVMA provided an interim executive director, Lisa Perius, who is also executive director of the Indiana VMA. She not only helped manage NAVTA in 2018, but also has left behind a detailed plan with recommendations for future executive leadership. In addition, the AVMA provided ongoing administrative support as well as direct assistance or funding in a number of areas, including governance, human resources, publications, and continuing education.

"The AVMA believes that enhancing our management partnership with NAVTA is consistent with the natural alignment of the two organizations as membership associations representing the interests of their respective veterinary professional members. We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership and even closer relationship," said Adrian Hochstadt, AVMA deputy CEO.

Kara Burns, immediate past president of NAVTA, said the AVMA's administrative support empowered the NAVTA board to focus on strategy and vision.

"The management partnership with AVMA will strengthen our infrastructure and support our organization's evolution," she said.

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Related JAVMA content:

U.S. watches, prepares for African swine fever (Nov. 15, 2018)

NAVTA to work closer with AVMA (June 1, 2017)