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NL: Vets propose independent antibiotics supervisor

The Royal Dutch Veterinary Organisation (KNMvD) calls for an independent antibiotics supervising authority to issue warnings and enforce penalties. The aim is to reduce antibiotics used in livestock, and tackle multiresistant bacteria (MRSA).

The independent supervisor will analyse data on the prescription of antibiotics by veterinarians. The veterinarians agreed to voluntarily archive their prescriptions in a central database to enable monitoring. The archiving has already been started, the KNMvD states.

The vets hope that this new proposal will sidestep the stricter guidelines proposed by the minister of agriculture, Gerda Verburg, who is examining a plan to prohibit the selling of medicines by veterinarians. This is already the case in Denmark, where they also have experience with centrally stored data on prescriptions. Currently, a substantial part of veterinarian's income in The Netherlands comes from selling medicines.

MRSA report

The proposal follows the publication of a report on MRSA in the animal production chain in the Netherlands (pdf, English summary on page 11 and 12).

Among pig farms, 68.3% of 202 farms tested positive for MRSA, the report states. In veal farming, 27.5% of the calves were found to be positive and MRSA was found to be present in 88% of the veal farms examined. Out of the 40 broiler flocks that were examined in poultry slaughterhouses, 35% tested positive for MRSA and 6.9% were found to be MRSA throat carriers. The prevalence of MRSA among poultry slaughterhouse workers was 5.6%. MRSA was isolated from 11.9% of the raw meat samples taken from retail businesses.

The report concludes that MRSA spreads throughout the Dutch intensive livestock farming sectors, similar to what has been observed across other countries in the world. The conclusion also reads that in livestock farming an increased risk of MRSA carriage has been established in those working with pigs or veal calves.

Minister Verburg reacted on the report, which was commissioned by the ministeries of agriculture and public health. According to Verburg, the report shows that the risks for public health from livestock related MRSA are still relatively small and that the Dutch situation is hardly different from that of other EU countries. Verburg sees no reasons to take extra measures. The current approach to decrease the usage of antibiotics will be continued.

The Dutch lower house will discuss antibiotic use in livestock on December 10.

Source: NOS news

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