NEWS SCAN: FDA and ag antibiotics, orthobunyavirus risk

Dec 23, 2011

FDA reaffirms voluntary strategy for limiting ag antibiotic use
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday reaffirmed its commitment to using a voluntary approach to limiting the use of antibiotics in livestock for purposes other than treating disease. In November the agency formally denied two long-pending petitions from consumer and other groups to restrict the use of several antibiotics in farm animals. In a Federal Register notice yesterday, the FDA formally withdrew two "notices of opportunity for a hearing," dating back to 1977, on certain uses of penicillin and tetracyclines in livestock, saying it is relying for now on a voluntary strategy that was unveiled in draft guidance issued in June 2010. The draft guidance on "judicious use" says that antibiotic use in food animals should be limited to what is necessary for ensuring animal health and should take place under veterinary oversight. Consumer groups have asserted that the proposed voluntary approach won't work. In the Federal Register notice, the FDA said that despite its withdrawal of the 1977 notices, "FDA remains concerned about the issue of antimicrobial resistance. Today's action should not be interpreted as a sign that FDA no longer has safety concerns or that FDA will not consider re-proposing withdrawal proceedings in the future, if necessary."
Dec 22 Federal Register notice
Nov 10 CIDRAP News story on FDA denial of consumer group petitions

ECDC sees low risk from new orthobunyavirus
A new orthobunyavirus detected in livestock in Germany and the Netherlands in early November isn't likely to cause disease in humans, though farmers and veterinarians who are in contact with infected animals should be monitored, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said today. The risk assessment applies to Schmallenberg virus, which has infected cattle in Germany and lambs in the Netherlands. The ECDC said similar orthobunyaviruses have not caused disease in humans, though the possibility can't be ruled out. Investigations into the new virus are ongoing, and the ECDC said it expects more cases in cattle and small livestock to be detected.
Dec 23 ECDC statement

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