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Animal health and human health practices can co-exist

BROOKINGS, SD – Antibiotic use in people and animals, along with efforts to preserve the usefulness of these tools, were discussed at the most recent South Dakota One Health seminar.

“The emergence of bacteria resistant to front-line antibiotics in human medicine has shone a spotlight on antibiotic use in human and veterinary medicine,” said Russ Daly, SDSU Extension Veterinarian and State Public Health Veterinarian. “The issue has been contentious at times, with finger-pointing at livestock uses of antibiotics, typically by those not involved in animal agriculture, as well as at physician prescribing practices, usually by those involved in animal agriculture.”

South Dakota One Health is a collaborative effort that promotes a deeper understanding of the connections between the health of people, animals and the environment. SDSU Extension is partnering with the Sanford USD Medical School, the South Dakota Department of Health, the South Dakota Animal Industry Board and Area Health Education Centers to provide educational opportunities surrounding different topics important to those who live and work in the state and region.

Educational opportunities include semi-annual seminars open to the public and an informational website. The seminars choose a One Health topic of interest to South Dakotans and enlist speakers and experts to explore both the human health and animal health aspects of the topic. They bring together people who are involved in human medicine, public health, veterinary medicine and animal production.

Attendees at the recent South Dakota One Health meeting, which were split almost evenly between people involved in animal health and human health, learned that there are many nuances to the uses of antibiotics, whether they’re prescribed for a child in an acute care clinic or for a finisher barn full of hogs.

“The goal of the meeting was for people unfamiliar with antibiotic use and stewardship in either human or veterinary medicine, to learn about the challenges faced by practitioners on the ‘other side of the aisle’,” Daly said.

“Attendees agreed that antibiotics are important tools to preserve for the future, in people and animals alike. Understanding the challenges faced by all who use these tools is the first step in working together toward that goal. One Health efforts such as the South Dakota seminar, are one way to enhance that understanding.”

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