The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) accepted the U.S. government’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Challenge, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The year-long program—bringing together veterinarians, physicians, other medical professionals, food animal producers, pharmaceutical and health insurance companies as well as government health officials—was announced during the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.
Antimicrobial resistance threatens both public and animal health, and veterinarians are critical leaders in the fight to preserve the effectiveness of life-saving antimicrobial drugs.
"Antimicrobial drugs are essential tools for fighting disease, and they must be used responsibly to assure their continued effectiveness," said AVMA President Dr. John de Jong. "Who better to lead that charge than veterinarians? We protect both animal and public health in countless ways—from doing research that advances human medicine, to safeguarding the health of livestock and protecting our nation’s food supply, to vaccinating animals against rabies and other zoonotic diseases."
The AVMA is a staunch advocate for greater veterinary oversight of antimicrobial use in animals and provides resources to help veterinarians talk with clients about how and when these important drugs should be used.
In committing to the CDC challenge, the AVMA made five promises:
- Continue collaborating with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase veterinary oversight of antimicrobials
- Educate veterinarians and veterinary clients about antimicrobial stewardship, and provide guidance for implementing stewardship plans
- Assist with enhanced surveillance of antibiotic use in animals
- Promote research on infection control, responsible use of antimicrobials and development of alternatives
- Engage with key international stakeholders to support antimicrobial stewardship
These efforts are already underway. The FDA's recently released five-year plan to promote antimicrobial stewardship in veterinary settings builds on the AVMA's Antimicrobial Stewardship Definition and Core Principles. The AVMA has a wide range of policies to guide veterinarians and veterinary team members on the responsible use of antimicrobials, plus tools to simplify the writing of Veterinary Feed Directives (VFDs) and posters to educate companion-animal clients. Other AVMA initiatives include:
- AVMA Chief Economic Officer Dr. Matt Salois will give a presentation later this week at the New York Academy of Sciences on economic factors related to antimicrobial use in farm animals. His talk at the Minimizing the Risk of Antimicrobial Resistance from Food Animal Production symposium will look at how antibiotic-free poultry/broiler production might affect animal health, the environment, and economic outcomes.
- The AVMA will participate in the OIE Global Conference on Antimicrobial Resistance next month, sharing with our global veterinary partners the resources we've developed to support antimicrobial stewardship and talking with them about their own efforts.
- Our Committee on Antimicrobials is developing a veterinary checklist to help guide veterinarians in implementing antimicrobial stewardship plans at the practice level.
- We’ll be refreshing and reorganizing our online resources on antimicrobial stewardship to make them easier to use.