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Antimicrobial resistance

What is antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance refers to the ability of micro-organisms (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) to prevent an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and anthelminthics) from being effective against the former.

Why is antimicrobial resistance a concern?

Antimicrobial resistance develops whenever antimicrobials are used.

Micro-organisms either die or develop resistance to antimicrobials whenever the latter are introduced into the former. The misuse and overuse of antimicrobial agents has led to accelerated development and spread of antimicrobial resistance over the years.

A micro-organism’s resistance to existing antimicrobials is increasing faster than the development of new antimicrobials. The dwindling availability of effective antimicrobials means there are less defence mechanisms available to protect humans and animals against micro-organisms.

What is our response to antimicrobial resistance?

We recognise the threat that antimicrobial resistance poses to human health, animal health, and animal welfare globally.

In 2017, the Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA), Public Utilities Board (PUB) and Agri-food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) developed the national strategic action plan on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). This plan consists of a framework that strengthens and enhances activities combating AMR, using a “One Health” approach. This term describes an approach involving the human, animal, food, and environment sectors. With effect from 1 April 2019, the Agri-food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) has been restructured to form the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) and the Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) under the National Parks Board (NParks). The Animal & Veterinary Service (AVS) will continue to work alongside with the respective agencies to combat against antimicrobial resistance.

Details of the national strategic action plan on AMR proposed in 2017 can be found here.

What can I do as a pet owner?

Click here or on the infographic to download.

  • Only use antibiotics when prescribed or administered by a veterinarian. Not every infectious disease requires antibiotics treatment.
  • Follow the dose, frequency, and length of treatment prescribed by your veterinarian, even if your pet seems to have recovered.
  • Keep your pet healthy. A healthy animal can better fight off infections.
  • Adopt preventative disease management measures. One way is to keep your animal’s vaccination and anti-parasitic treatment updated, as this prevents infections.  

Click here or on the infographic to download. 

Singapore Vaccination Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

Vaccines are essential to animal health and they can prevent many infectious diseases which can cause serious illnesses in animals. By reducing the chances of our companion animals falling sick, vaccines also reduce the need for them to receive treatment such as antibiotics, which when not used correctly, can contribute to antimicrobial resistance.

The Singapore Vaccination Guidelines Working Group, comprising veterinarians from NParks/AVS and the Singapore Veterinary Association (SVA), have developed the very first Singapore Vaccination Guidelines for Dogs and Cats. The guidelines contain updated and evidence-backed recommendations that are suited to our local context and are intended to provide guidance to veterinarians practising in Singapore. Click here on the thumbnail image below to download the guidelines.


Vaccination Guidelines for Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV)

(last updated on 18 November 2020)

For the latest information regarding RHDV vaccination, please click here.

Click here to download the infographic. 


Further information

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) factsheet on antimicrobial resistance

World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) webpage on antimicrobial resistance

World Health Organization (WHO) webpage on antimicrobial resistance.