Folks, I told you Tuesday about a Congressional hearing on antibiotic resistance, featuring NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. Not much new was said, but it’s encouraging that the hearing was held at all. (Fauci testimony here, Frieden here.)
Coincidentally, constant reader Pat Gardiner of the UK alerted me to a gathering being held on the same day in Ireland, by the quasi-government agency SafeFood—which reports to the North-South Ministerial Council of Ireland, which deals with whole-island issues under the Good Friday agreement, which is more about the Irish political structure than you probably ever wanted to know.
The conference was titled Antimicrobial resistance and food safety and featured government officials and academic researchers from across Ireland. Here’s the agenda, and here’s the press release with the names of key speakers. Even more important, here are links to a report on antibiotic resistance in food that Safefood released in advance of this conference: executive summary and whole thing. I especially recommend from p.25 in the big report for an accessible discussion of the connections between ag antibiotic use and human health. Key quote among many:
The majority of the evidence acquired through outbreak and epidemiological investigations of sporadic infections, field studies, case reports, ecological and temporal associations and molecular sub-typing studies support the causal link between the use of antimicrobial agents in food animals and human illness. A few papers have questioned this but these have not survived detailed scrutiny.
It’s refreshing to see a government body engage seriously with this emerging issue, which we’ve been talking about for, well, years now, on this blog (sometime this month we passed our 3-year anniversary). I wish, wistfully, that the government doing the discussing was ours.