How soil health is integral to One Health

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One of a series of blogs written by CABI editors for One Health (#OneHealth) Day on November 3rd 2016

 "It is difficult to rate the importance of the different soil functions, since all are vital to our well-being to some extent. However, the function of supporting food and agriculture worldwide is fundamental for the preservation and advancement of human life on this planet."Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States (FAO).

 

The multiple roles of soil often go unnoticed. During time spent carrying out research for this blog I came across the following quote which I feel really captures the relevance of soil health for the One Health concept:

‘The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible’.

This was actually said seven decades ago by Lady Eva Balfour, one of the first women to study agriculture at an English University, who went on to found the Soil Association in 1946. Yet it seems that on many levels we are still to realise the connectedness between health in soils, plants, animals and people.

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Excessive use of antimicrobials in intensive livestock farming as One Health issue

One of a series of blogs written by CABI editors for One Health Day November 3rd 2016

Most antibiotics in livestock farming are used in aquaculture, but significant amounts are also used in terrestrial livestock species, particularly in poultry and pigs.

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Most antibiotics in intensive livestock farming are used for non-therapeutic purposes

Approximately 70% of antibiotics are used for non- therapeutic purposes, i.e. many antibiotics are used in sub- therapeutic doses and over prolonged periods, which leads to the development of genes that confer antimicrobial resistance to animal pathogens. These genes can subsequently be transferred to human pathogens and it is estimated that 75% of recently emerging diseases in humans are of animal origin.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problems are further exacerbated by the fact that antibiotic resistance genes were found in bacteria long before antibiotics were ever used on super-pathogens in farm animals.

AMR is a worldwide problem, which clearly affects both animal and human health, and hence it is truly One Health issue.

 

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Workshop on “Food Security: Infectious Diseases in Farm Animals”- Invited Lectures, Day 2

St. Catherine’s College, Manor Road, Oxford,  UK,  4-7th April 2016 

Attended by M Djuric, CAB International, Wallingford, UK, on 5th April 2016 (Day 2)

This workshop meeting was jointly organised by the Pirbright Institute, Woking, UK and Cairo University, Egypt and was sponsored by the British Council Research Links Programme.

The aims of the workshop were to build long-term and sustainable links between scientists in the UK and Egypt working in the field of infectious diseases of poultry and livestock.

The second day of the workshop  consisted of two sessions and included  four invited expert and engaging presentations by Professor Mohamed Shakal, Professor Fiona Tomly,  Professor Javier Guitian and Dr Roberto La Regione.

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Venue: St. Catherine's College, Manor Road, Oxford

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Veterinary visits to become mandatory in European farming

By Miroslav Djuric, DVM, CAB International, Wallingford, UK

The European Agriculture Council has formally approved a draft law on animal diseases that are transmissible among animals and potentially to humans (zoonoses).

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The provisions in the law on farm animal health visits stipulate that professional animal owners are to receive regular animal health visits from a veterinarian for disease prevention, detection and biosecurity. This new piece of legislation aims to merge and update existing scattered directives and regulations into a single and coherent law.

It is announced as an important step forward, since visits by vets are the cornerstone of the ‘prevention is better than cure’ strategy and indispensable for the prevention and early detection of known and emerging transmissible diseases. The role of the veterinarian in achieving this is defined and highlighted. The veterinary profession also has an active part to play in raising awareness of animal health and of One Health, or the interaction between animal health, animal welfare and public health.

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Limitations of Voluntary Plan for Phasing Out Non-Medical Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals in USA

By M Djuric, DVM

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued a guidance document on the use of antibiotics in farm animals. The document notes that excessive use leads to the spread of antibiotic-resistant diseases in both animals and humans. In the document, the FDA proposes that pharmaceutical companies voluntarily change some of their labelling and marketing practices to help phase out the use of certain antibiotics for enhanced food production.

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All the drugs affected by this plan are antibacterial products, which have long been approved for the treatment, control or prevention of animal diseases.  However, the same antibiotics are often added to the animal feed or drinking water of cattle, pigs, and poultry to gain weight faster or use less feed to gain weight.

The agency is asking animal pharmaceutical companies to notify the FDA within the next three months of their intent to voluntarily make the changes recommended in the guidance document. Based on timeframes set out in the guidance document, companies would then have three years to fully implement these changes.

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British Vets Resist “Political Measures” to Restrict Veterinary Use of Antibiotics

By Miroslav Djuric, DVM

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) marked the 5th European Antibiotic Awareness Day (18 November 2012) by releasing a statement in which it reaffirms its commitment to promoting responsible use of antibiotics, but also warns that political measures to reduce antimicrobial resistance in Europe and the UK are not based on sound science.

 

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The statement lists activities undertaken and measures implemented by the BVA to promote responsible use of these medicines, including the BVA’s poster campaign for responsible use of antibiotics and the BVA’s membership of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance, which contributes significantly to European-wide guidance on antimicrobial use. The BVA also successfully lobbied for responsible use of medicines to be enshrined in the new Code of Professional Conduct to which all vets in the UK must adhere.

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European Antibiotic Awareness Day Highlights Threat of Antibiotic Resistance

By Miroslav Djuric

European Antibiotic Awareness Day is an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness of the threat of antibiotic resistance to public health and animal health as well as the importance of prudent use of antibiotics.

On the occasion of the 5th European Antibiotic Awareness Day, which was marked on 18 November 2012, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has released new data demonstrating that antibiotic resistance remains a major European and global public health problem. Imprudent use of antibiotics is one of the main factors responsible for the development and increase in antibiotic resistance.

DrugssThe ECDC data show that during the last decade, there has been an increase in antibiotic consumption in the EU. Antibiotic consumption in hospitals is considered as the main source that leads to the development of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, although the vast majority of antibiotic consumption occurs in the community, i.e outside hospitals. National antibiotic consumption data are publicly available from ESAC-Net providing a basis for monitoring progress towards a more prudent use of antibiotics.

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