Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the UK–
John E. Moore B.Sc., Ph.D.
Clinical Microbiologist, Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast City Hospital, UK
Centre for Experimental Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
School of Biomedical Sciences, Ulster University, Coleraine, UK
The ability to control infections with antibiotics has revolutionised both the practice of human clinical medicine and also veterinary medicine. However in response to this, the target bacterial pathogens in both man and animals have responded to the employment and evolution of anti-infective agents, by developing elaborate resistance mechanisms, thereby compromising their clinical efficacy in a therapeutic environment. Although a wide variety of reasons have been suggested for the development of such resistant forms and control strategies postulated, such resistant strains continue to emerge and it is with concern that appropriate controls are put in place so that the antibiotics era is effectively maintained and is not a transient phenomenon. It is important that present agricultural and public health practises and usage of antibiotics in humans and animals is fully examined with respect to their potential impact on all potential environmental and health-related interactions. It is vital in today’s consumer-driven market to ensure that UK and Japanese agricultural practices are reliable and safe and do not attract any adverse criticism that may be potentially harmful to the agri-food industry in both countries, its employees or local, national or international markets.
Development of such resistance in foodborne pathogens of zoonotic concern to man, may have been accelerated particularly through the use of antibiotics at low or sub-therapeutic concentrations in animal feeds or by being used as growth promoters. In addition, the intensive farming practices commonly used today in modern animal husbandry and production systems may allow for the proliferation of antibiotic resistance determinants in foodborne pathogens.
Overall, it has been demonstrated previously that the acquisition of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from food sources can lead to serious human infections such as septicaemia and can seriously reduce the therapeutic options for managing such patients.
This lecture will examine the origins and consequences of AMR in today’s modern society.