USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is nearing the completion of a five-year pilot surveillance program to monitor antimicrobial resistance and will establish a permanent surveillance program.

In a recent newsletter, the agency’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network Program Office said 31 laboratories across 27 states are participating in the final year of the NAHLN pilot surveillance program and met all targets for AMR samples submitted in FY 2022, up from 19 labs at the pilot's 2018 inception. These samples were a “critical component for establishing the permanent program and allow us to monitor antimicrobials over time,” APHIS said.

The permanent program will monitor AMR profiles for eight veterinary viruses from cattle, swine, poultry, horses, dogs and cats. This includes the monitoring of E.coli, Salmonella and different streptococcus strains.

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The goals of the program are to collect antimicrobial susceptibility data from 5,000 isolates per year — and perform whole genome sequencing on at least 500 of these isolates — to monitor both antimicrobial resistance and the genetic elements that contribute to antimicrobial resistance.

The agency said that by developing a centralized data collection and reporting process across the 31 laboratories, information can be monitored for trends in antimicrobial resistance phenotypes and genotypes to identify new or emerging resistance profiles, help monitor the continued usefulness of antibiotics over time and provide information back to stakeholders on these trends.

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