Prophylactic medicine

European move to Ban Prophylactic Medicine could Compromise Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is deeply concerned by a European Parliament resolution calling on the Commission to legislate against the prophylactic use of antibiotics (antimicrobials) in livestock farming.

The move is part of a larger motion drawing attention to the problem of antimicrobial resistance and calling for measures across Europe to reduce the increase in resistance. It was passed by MEPs on 27 October 2011.

Commenting, Carl Padgett, President of the BVA, said:

“There is a huge amount to be welcomed in this resolution, which calls for greater surveillance, increased use and understanding of data, and a responsible approach to the use of antimicrobials across Europe.

“However, the call for a ban on the prophylactic use of antibiotics in livestock farming could have a detrimental impact on animal health and welfare by reducing the ability of veterinary surgeons to treat animals in a timely and appropriate fashion.

“While we understand the desire to put an end to blanket prophylactic treatment with antimicrobials, this measure shows a lack of understanding of how vets treat infection on the farm.

“Vets should be able to use their clinical and professional judgement; otherwise we risk a situation whereby they are unable to administer an antimicrobial to an injured animal to prevent infection, or to the penmates of sick animals on farm who are likely to also be infected.

“In a practical sense a complete ban on the prophylactic use of antimicrobials puts the vets in a very difficult position and the result could compromise animal health and welfare.” [Source:]


ECDC Risk Assessment on West Nile Virus Infection in the European Union

Animal Health

ECDC has published a rapid risk assessment on the epidemiological situation of West Nile virus infection in the European Union.

In the ongoing 2011 West Nile virus transmission season, cases have been reported from newly affected geographical areas. 86 human cases of West Nile fever have been reported in the EU, with 74 cases in Greece, eight in Romania, and four cases in Italy. In the neighbouring countries, 125 cases have been declared.

West Nile virus transmission is now established in several European countries and its further spread is expected in the coming years. Multi-sectoral collaboration and intensified surveillance made it possible to detect West Nile virus in new areas and identify WNV lineage 1 and lineage 2, which are now both circulating in Europe.

EU Member States are responding to this situation with the implementation of preventive measures, particularly the safeguarding of blood supplies. In addition, efforts should be made to further strengthen laboratory capacity for reliable WN diagnosis, fostering collaboration between public health and veterinary authorities and to increase our current knowledge of the disease.

The rapid risk assessment is available here. [Source: ECDC]


Influenza and other Emerging Zoonotic Diseases at the Human-Animal Interface

Animal Health

Given the complexity of zoonotic disease emergence in an increasingly globalized world, effective strategies for reducing future threats must be identified. Lessons learned from past experiences controlling diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), and pandemic (H1N1) 2009, indicate that new paradigms are needed for early detection, prevention, and control to reduce persistent global threats from influenza and other emerging zoonotic diseases. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie (IZSVe) organised a joint scientific consultation in Verona, Italy (27-29 April 2010) entitled “FAO-OIE-WHO Joint Scientific Consultation on Influenza and Other Emerging Zoonotic Diseases at the Human-Animal Interface”. This document is a summary of the consultation. It provides examples of emerged or emerging zoonotic viral diseases. It describes commonalities across diseases and ideas for new approaches and suggests steps towards translating meeting outcomes into policy. [Source: FAO]

Download FAO-OIE-WHO Consultation Summary