Animal health body targets misuse of antibiotics

By Chloe Ryan

- Last updated on GMT

The OIE's Antibiotic Awareness Week
The OIE's Antibiotic Awareness Week

Related tags Bacteria Antibiotic resistance

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) aims to reduce the misuse of antibiotics by creating a World Antibiotic Awareness Week, between 16 and 22 November.

The OIE, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) wants to try and combat the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Antibiotics are essential for treating bacterial diseases. Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics pose a serious threat to the treatment of both animal and human diseases throughout the world.

The first World Antibiotic Awareness Week is aimed at increasing awareness of the health risks posed by antibiotic resistance and to promote best practice by all those involved in this area, to limit the emergence and spread of resistant bacteria.


"Ensuring the responsible and prudent use of antibiotics for animals is essential to protect their effectiveness, not only for animal health and animal welfare but also for human health,"​ said Bernard Vallat, director general of the OIE.

“This is why we need better controls on the production, registration, importation, distribution and use of antibiotics, as well as good legislation, qualified veterinarians and a well-organised veterinary profession to oversee their use in animals.”

The OIE has long worked to promote the appropriate use of antibiotics in animals and has published intergovernmental standards in this field, in close collaboration with its international network of experts. These standards, updated in May 2015, have been adopted by all of the OIE’s 180 member countries.

Close cooperation

To encourage close cooperation between the human and animal health sectors on this topic, posters, available on the OIE portal, were designed in conjunction with WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). The initiative took place under the framework of WHO’s ‘Handle Antibiotics with Care’ campaign.

Detailed infographics​ explain the essential elements required by each country to ensure the responsible and prudent use of antibiotics within its territory.

“By adopting best practice when treating animals with antibiotics, principally through applying the intergovernmental standards of the OIE, we can, collectively, prolong their effectiveness and protect our future,”​ said Vallat.

Related topics Meat

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