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15 July, 2024
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Cyprus faces growing threat from drug-resistant bugs: Is there hope?

The country is fighting antibiotic overuse and tackling resistance in livestock to protect human health


In a bid to tackle a global health challenge, Cyprus is ramping up efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics in its livestock sector. This initiative comes as antimicrobial resistance poses a serious threat worldwide, leading to millions of deaths annually.

Recently, European trainers held a two-day workshop in Larnaca to educate farmers and veterinarians on the proper use of antibiotics. This training, funded by the EU, aimed to curb Cyprus's high use of antimicrobials, especially in pigs and poultry farming.

Cyprus, known for consuming more antibiotics for animals than any other EU country, has made progress. The Veterinary Services, with support from the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, reported a significant 23.4% drop in antibiotic sales in pig farms after implementing strict measures. These include regular health checks, vaccination programs, and improved hygiene practices.

Farmers like Dimitris Paradisiotis of "Paradisiotis" poultry farms have embraced biosecurity measures to reduce the need for antibiotics. Such measures help prevent diseases from spreading among animals, thereby lowering antibiotic use.

While progress is being made, challenges remain. Monica Zabala from the European Commission highlighted Cyprus's previous high antibiotic consumption but noted recent success stories. One major pig farm achieved a staggering 95% reduction in antibiotic use, showing what's possible with the right strategies.

However, experts emphasize that the battle against antimicrobial resistance requires a collective effort. Veterinarians stress the importance of using antibiotics only when necessary, improving animal husbandry practices, and addressing climate challenges that affect animal health.

Moving forward, stakeholders are optimistic but cautious. They advocate for stricter enforcement of EU regulations, regular veterinary checks at farms, and addressing vaccine shortages to prevent diseases effectively.

As Cyprus navigates these challenges, the hope is to safeguard public health and ensure that antibiotics remain effective against infections, both in animals and humans.

[With information from CNA]

Cyprus  |  antibiotic  |  livestock  |  health  |  medicines

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