Antibiotics are not only an essential part of modern human medicine, they are also indispensable in veterinary medicine. Historically, low levels of antibiotics were added to the feed of healthy livestock, to promote their growth – a practice now banned in the European Union, but still in use elsewhere – while vets still use antibiotics to treat sick animals. This may have allowed potentially harmful bacteria to become steadily more resistant, including E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter, which can make their way from the farm to our dinner plates and lead to infections which may not be treatable.
The rapidly growing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics is one of the biggest crises currently facing humanity. A recent UK government review indicated that if current trends continue, by 2050, infections caused by antibiotic-resistant pathogens would lead to more deaths worldwide than cancer and return medicine to the Dark Ages. The free online course “Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain” explores how antibiotic use in farming is creating resistant bacteria within our food chain and what we can do to tackle the issue.
Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain Course Content
During this three-week course, the following topics are included:
- What antibiotics are, how they work, and how bacteria become resistant to their effects;
- How antibiotics are used every day from the perspective of a general practitioner (GP) and a veterinarian;
- How antibiotics are used in farming;
- How do antibiotics contaminate the environment?
- How can antibiotic-resistant bacteria find their way onto our food?
- What impact does global trade have on the spread of antibiotic resistance?
- What can be done to tackle antibiotic resistance?
- How effective are our current control measures and policies?
- What are we doing to look for new types of antibiotics?
- Are there alternatives to antibiotics?
- What can we do internationally to cooperate on solving this problem?
This course is for anyone with an interest in antibiotics, food and farming, and how antimicrobial resistance (AMR) will affect our lives in the future.
Summary of Main Course Features
- Created By: University of Nottingham
- Educators: Robert Atterbury and Paul Barrow
- Start Date: 14 November 2016
- Duration: 3 weeks x 3 hours per week
- Certificates available
Visit the Course Page
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