Some of Northern Ireland's leading brains in the world of animal and human health will come together to discuss 'Antimicrobial Resistance' and the ambitious targets set for the sector at this year's annual agriculture symposium.

Final year agricultural technology students at Queen’s University Belfast picked the title 'Antimicrobial Resistance: Meeting the Challenge' for this year's conference; a global issue with impacts on both human and animal health.

Final year student and student chairperson Aaron Brown explained that the class wanted to base their symposium around a topical issue applicable to all commodities.

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microorganism - like bacteria, viruses and some parasites - to gain resistance against antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials.

As a result, standard treatments become ineffective; infections persist and may spread to others.

The chances of resistance occurring increase the more often antibiotics are used. The issue has existed since antibiotics were first discovered, but because no new antibiotics have been discovered since the 1980s society has entered a 'discovery void'.

The evening's guest speakers include:

  • Robert Huey, chief veterinary officer, DAERA and Michael McBride, chief medical officer for the Department of Health, discussing the One Health initiative;
  • Norman Beggs, Udder Health Solutions, speaking on selective dry cow therapy;
  • George Brownlee, FarmVet Systems, discussing the use of technology to reduce antibiotic usage.

The evening will be hosted by the student group's chairman Aaron Brown, and chaired by Simon Doherty, junior vice president of the British Veterinary Association and director of Blackwater Consultancy.

The symposium 'Antimicrobial Resistance: Meeting the Challenge' takes place on Tuesday, April 17 at 6:30pm in the School of Biological Sciences, North Lecture Theatre, Medical Biology Centre (MBC), Lisburn Road, Belfast.

Light refreshments will be provided and all are welcome.