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Animal health industry looks beyond antibiotics

UK, Milton Keynes, November 21, 2017 -  MSD Animal Health (known as Merck Animal Health in the United States and Canada) is launching the white paper Time to Vaccinate - Looking Beyond Antibiotics at an event in London today.

Vaccination rates in the cattle, sheep and pig sectors remain low. The penetration rate for both infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) in cattle and toxoplasmosis in sheep currently sits at 22%. In pigs, vaccination for Glässer's disease is around 26%. Time to Vaccinate - Looking Beyond Antibiotics aims to help lift those rates to protect animal health and welfare, as the industry reduces its antibiotic use, and moves to a more preventive approach on farm.

The paper is a collaboration between leading independent animal health experts which provides a comprehensive analysis of the scientific evidence in favour of preventive healthcare, including the potential for vaccination, to help reduce the use of antibiotics. The paper is also a call to policy makers to support the industry in looking beyond antibiotics.

Dr Paul Williams, from MSD Animal Health explains. "Antimicrobial resistance has been widely highlighted as one of the urgent problems of our time. Alongside the medical profession, livestock farming has a part to play in curtailing the speed at which resistant microorganisms develop. The farming community is working hard to find more effective ways to reduce disease without compromising animal welfare, and in turn increasing productivity.

"To do this, the industry must focus on disease prevention, not disease treatment. This is achieved through high standards of biosecurity to reduce disease entering farms, good management, husbandry and hygiene practices and the focus of this paper - vaccination.

"The success of vaccination in preventing disease has significant potential to reduce antibiotic use, as has already been well demonstrated in the pig, poultry and aquaculture industries. With low penetration rates in the other livestock sectors at the moment, we hope the Time to Vaccinate initiative helps farmers and their veterinary surgeons make informed decisions about vaccination as part of their overall animal health plans."

John FitzGerald, secretary general of the Responsible Use of Medicines in Agriculture (RUMA) Alliance, contributed to the paper foreword and comments, "Vaccines are vital components in preventing a wide variety of diseases and a key tool in reducing antibiotic use."

Copies of the white paper are available at http://www.msd-animal-health.co.uk/

Use medicines responsibly. Please visit www.noah.co.uk/responsible for more information.