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End animal antibiotic abuse call

Monday July 4th, 2011

The world's nations need to end the routine use of antibiotics on farm animals to help keep humans safe from infection, a major summit said last week.

Farmers and vets should be banned from dosing animals with human antibiotics - and banned from using the drugs as growth promoters, delegates agreed.

And human use of the drugs should also be tightly regulated - with over the counter sales banned, the conference agreed.

Experts met in Annecy, France, for the third Healthcare Associated Infection Forum, an event sponsored by a pharmaceutical company.

The outbreak of drug-resistant E.coli in Europe was a fresh public health warning - suggesting a "new era" of resistance to drugs has begun, the conference heard.

A second conference followed last week in Geneva, Switzerland - the first International Conference on Prevention and Infection Control, backed by the World Health Organisation.

British expert Professor Bill Keevil, of Southampton University, told conference delegates of the benefits of using copper surfaces to prevent infection.

He said: "Copper's rapid destruction of pathogens could prevent mutational resistance developing and also help reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance genes to receptive and potentially more virulent organisms, as well as genes responsible for virulence."

Professor Michael Schmidt, of the Medical University of South Carolina, USA, reported to delegates on a US trial of copper surfaces showing a 97 per cent reduction in living pathogens in hospital rooms using these surfaces.

Tags: Europe | General Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News | World Health

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