17 February 2015 - The importance and increase in the use of antibiotics has lead to the raise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), raising huge concerns worldwide due to its public and animal health implications. In response, FAO is addressing AMR as a cross-sectoral issue. As part of this response FAO-led LinkTADs and EFFORT, two EU-funded projects, organized a webinar on Surveillance of antimicrobial resistance. This was the second of a series of webinars organized under the framework of LinkTADs after the first one on disease outbreak investigations in October 2014.
The EFFORT project studies the complex epidemiology and ecology of AMR, while FAO-lead LinkTADs focuses on the coordination of research on animal disease (i.e. epidemiology and laboratory diagnostics) between partners in the EU and China.
The webinar took place on 5 February 2015 over the course of one and a half hours, using an online meeting format that allowed participants to interact, ask questions and discuss with the presenters. Participation was free of charge. Participants included stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of AMR surveillance programmes, researchers, veterinary services and policy makers in Asia. Two presenters covered the different aspects related to AMR. Although the focus of the webinar was China, participants represented a broad range of additional countries, including Canada, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Dr Jaap Wagenaar, from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, presented the ecosystems of AMR, dynamics, transfer and monitoring at the bacterial level, pointing out the importance of integrated surveillance systems, which would enable data comparison from food producing animals, food products and humans. He also presented the two methods for evaluating resistance: Clinical breakpoints (CBPs), based on clinically relevant data (therapeutic indication, clinical response data, dosing schedules, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics); and Epidemiological cut-off values (ECOFFs), which separate the naive, susceptible wild-type population from the populations that have developed reduced susceptibility to a given antimicrobial agent. Dr Wagenaar highlighted the importance of reducing the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance by using the example of commensal E. coli.
The second topic on monitoring of antimicrobial consumption in animals was presented by Jeroen Dewulf from Ghent University, Belgium. He addressed the various needs for monitoring antimicrobial consumption and the different points where those measures could be taken at national level such as market authorization holders, wholesalers, feed producing companies, veterinarians and pharmacists. He highlighted the limitations in the quantification and comparison of consumption levels, such as the delay that may occur between data collection and consumption point. He also presented the various units available for quantification while comparing their strengths and limitations.
After the presentations, the general discussions with participants focused on the effect of residues in the environment and how this should be included into surveillance systems. The recording of the whole webinar is available here.
The topics and dates of future webinars are still to be decided and will be advertised in due time on LinkTADs website and through targeted email distribution lists. These webinars can potentially cover a wide range of epidemiology and laboratory aspects on priority diseases and the selection of the definitive topics will be based on demand. Therefore, please feel free to contact us with your suggestions.