Voluntary restrictions to use of colistin in farm animal treatments (imposed December 2015)
RUMA members considered an article in Lancet Infectious Disease reporting that a new gene which makes common bacteria resistant to colistin, a last-line antibiotic, had been found in animals and patients in China. They noted that the EU had called for a revised risk assessment on colistin use in animals and agreed, pending the results of the risk assessment, that colistin use wouldbe restricted to an antibiotic of last resort and will be used only after susceptibility testing had shown it was the only effective antibiotic available for treating the sick animals. RUMA consulted the veterinary sectors who use colistin and they had agreed to restrict their use of colistin. This was deemed a positive and proportionate response, particularly as no E Coli colistin resistance in the UK had been reported in the latest surveillance results.
Since this time, use of colistin in UK farm veterinary medicine has fallen 99% and is now at exceptionally low levels of use with all veterinary guidelines clear it must only be used in cases of last resort after sensitivity testing.