Antibiotics1 are drugs capable of killing bacteria or disrupting their reproduction without harm- ing their host, and have been used for more
than 70 years to treat people with infections and for
more than 50 years in veterinary medicine. They have
undoubtedly saved millions of lives, but the establishment of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is jeopardizing
their effectiveness. Misuse, overuse and injudicious
use of this important class of drugs are being debated
by academics, veterinarians, regulators and consumers alike. What all parties can agree upon is that
antibiotic resistance is a complicated issue that needs
urgent attention and continuing dialogue, as the policies of food production begin to shift to protect these
essential drugs from losing their effectiveness.
The need to promote the judicious use of antibiotics in human medicine has long been underway.
Many patients are now aware or are being advised by
their physicians that antibiotics will not treat viruses,
and much public information2 has been made readily
available to thwart the overprescribing of antibiotics.