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Date: 8/21/2014

Title: National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) holds Two-Day Public Meeting in Maryland

NARMS was established in 1996 as a collaborative effort among the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local health departments. As a national public health surveillance program, NARMS monitors the susceptibility of enteric bacteria to antimicrobial drugs medically importance to human health in order to help to assess the impact of veterinary antimicrobial drug use on human health. NARMS monitors the susceptibility of enteric bacteria from humans, retail meats and food producing animals, as well as conducts epidemiologic and microbiologic research studies.

On August 12-13th, a two-day public meeting was held at FDA’s White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD to discuss the progress, to date, under the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System.

At the meeting, FDA provided updates on the NARMS 2012-2016 Strategic Plan, discussed possible future activities, responded to questions and provided the opportunity for public comments. NARMS periodically conducts public meetings to inform stakeholders of NARMS activities, to share research findings, and to receive comments on ways to improve the monitoring system. During the meeting, the four goals of NARMS were identified as being:

  • Develop a sampling strategy more representative of food animal production/consumption to allow for better trend analysis.
  • Optimize data acquisition analysis and reporting.
  • Strengthen collaborative research projects.
  • Collaborate with international institutions that promote food safety, especially those focused on reducing antimicrobial resistance.

The discussions taking place during this meeting affirmed that antibiotic use in animal agriculture has become a subject for both scientific and policy debate. There is a need to address public health concerns while continuing to strive to maintain animal health. The FDA voluntary guidance 209/213 supports the use of antimicrobial drugs which are medically important to human health for the prevention, control and treatment of diseases in food producing animals, as prescribed by a veterinarian. FDA will provide six- month progress summaries on the implementation plans for their judicious use guidance as well as an evaluation in December 2016, which marks the end of the three- year transition period to implementation.

The meeting concluded with presentations concerning interagency research projects that investigate new and emerging bacterial resistance threats. Several projects looked at the genetic mechanisms for resistance and established the importance of using genetic information involving foodborne pathogens to trace the origins of a disease outbreak.