Cheick Saidou /

The week of Nov. 18 to 24 is World Antimicrobial Awareness Week. Identified by the World Health Organization as one of the most serious threats to public health, antibiotic resistance is correlated to the use of antibiotics that generate, over time, an increase in bacterial resistance that threatens the usefulness of these crucial treatments.

Since 2016, France has had an inter-ministerial roadmap to fight against antibiotic resistance, with a “One Health” perspective. It coordinates actions in human and animal health, and in the environment.

The commitment of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food on this issue is total.

It is leading the Ecoantibio 2 plan (2017-2021) which lays out the animal health components of the inter-ministerial roadmap. Ecoantibio is composed of 20 measures covering all international recommendations linked to fighting antibiotic resistance. The Ecoantibio 2 plan, like its predecessor, Ecoantibio 1, contributes to their implementation. The commitment of the veterinary profession and other parties (farmers and their representatives, etc.), has allowed for a reduction in the average exposure of animals to antibiotics by 45% between 2011 and 2019.

Different actions have been put in place in order to meet the plan’s goals.

Action 8 of the Ecoantibio plan has as its goal the evaluation of measures taken in Ecoantibio 1 and 2, taking into account the health, social and environmental dimensions of the subject, and for all animal industries. At this time, six projects have been financed for grants as part of Action 8.

Two other studies were launched in 2020:

  • One aims to determine if, as has been shown in human medicine, there are levels below which there is not a linear relationship between the quantity of antibiotics used and the associated antibiotic resistance. The identification of these levels would be an important tool in helping to manage their use.
  • A second study will investigate the economic impacts of the Ecoantibio 1 plan.
    Additionally, in November 2020, a communications campaign was launched, aimed at farmers and veterinarians, which encourage the best, limited use of antibiotics on farm animals, all while guaranteeing the health of the animals.

    A national network of veterinarians who are experts in antibiotic therapy has also been put in place that is financed by the Ecoantibio plan. The idea is to provide a network for veterinarians to reach out to other expert veterinarians with their questions about best practices or technical aspects of reducing the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine.