An antimicrobial is an agent that kills microorganism or inhibits their growth.
Antimicrobial medicines can be grouped according to the microorganisms they act primarily against. For example, antibacterials (commonly known as antibiotics) are used against bacteria.
Misuse of antibiotics, both on humans and on animals, leads to the emergence and selection of resistant bacteria to the antimicrobials.
The abuse of antibiotic for curing viral infections (against which are ineffective) or minor diseases, it’s one side of the problem; but in my opinion another threat for human health could be introduced in the food chain by the animals.
They are cured with too much antibiotics and they are greatly helping the development of more resistant micro-organisms, transmitted to humans via meat and also released in the environment through their droppings.
It’s a problem well known to the Health Authorities all over the world, and just some days ago I read an interesting “European Parliament resolution of 27 October 2011 on the public health threat of antimicrobial resistance”, published on the Official Journal of the European Union at the following link.
Today has been published an EFSA-ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) scientific report, based on the situation of 26 EU Member States in 2011 and referred to Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus. The conclusion seems to be positive, the risk low and the co-resistance to two critically important antimicrobials remains low, such as the multi-resistance.
Nonetheless must be stressed that the report refers to 2011 and several voices in the scientific world – and also the WHO – seem to be not so optimistic.