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Did Glycopeptide Use in Animals Result in Hospital Infections of VRE?

Posted by plosmedicine on 30 Mar 2009 at 23:45 GMT

Author: Anthony Mudd
Position: Veterinary Consultant
Institution: Southampton, U.K.
Submitted Date: August 30, 2005
Published Date: September 12, 2005
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

As one of the persons involved with the development of avoparcin for farm animals I have followed the discussion on VRE and the potential transfer from animals to man over the past decade. What a pity that the authors of this article did not reference a recent review by Wassenaar [1] that comprehensively discussed this topic. In this latter review, evidence is presented to show that VRE infections in man have actually increased in the EU since avoparcin was removed from the market. Other data show that total genome typing methods separate clinical VRE strains from animal or non-hospitalized human strains.
The conclusion of the Smith et al. paper that a correct decision was made to adopt the EU "precautionary principle" and remove avoparcin from the market is surprising, as this is contrary to the opinion of the independent EU Scientific Committee for Animal Nutrition and a quantitative risk analysis as suggested by the authors could not conclude a relationship between glycopeptide use in animals and the incidence of clinical infection in man.

1. Wassenaar TM (2005. Use of Antimicrobial Agents in Veterinary Medicine and Implications for Human Health. Critical Reviews in Microbiology 31:155-169

Competing interests declared: Consultant advising the International Federation for Animal Health representing the Global Animal Health companies.