The WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (WHO-AGISAR) was established in December 2008 to support WHO's effort to minimize the public health impact of antimicrobial resistance associated with the use of antimicrobials in food animals. In particular, the Advisory Group will assist WHO on matters related to the integrated surveillance of antimicrobial resistance and the containment of food-related antimicrobial resistance. The terms of reference of WHO-AGISAR are as follows:
- Develop harmonized schemes for monitoring antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and enteric bacteria. This should include appropriate sampling.
- Support WHO capacity-building activities in Member countries for antimicrobial resistance monitoring (AMR training modules for Global Foodborne Infections Network (GFN) training courses).
- Promote information sharing on AMR.
- Provide expert advice to WHO on containment of antimicrobial resistance with a particular focus on Human Critically Important Antimicrobials.
- Support and advise WHO on the selection of sentinel sites and the design of pilot projects for conducting integrated surveillance of antimicrobial resistance.
- Support WHO capacity-building activities in Member countries for antimicrobial usage monitoring.
The WHO Advisory Group on Integrated Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance comprises over 20 internationally-renowned experts in a broad range of disciplines relevant to antimicrobial resistance, appointed following a web-published call for advisers, and a transparent selection process. WHO-AGISAR holds quarterly telephone conferences and annual face-to-face meetings.
CVM through the FDA Office of International Programs arranged for funding to help support the establishment of AGISAR. This funding will be used to help begin an initiative to provide international oversight to programs that regulate food safety, especially with regard to the exchange of information and expertise in all matters relating to antimicrobial resistance surveillance programs. CVM will play the critical role of shaping this group and assuring that programs are scientifically and technically sound.
Governments internationally recognize the threat to food safety posed by microbiological contamination including the threat to public and animal health posed by antimicrobial resistant microorganisms. The outcome of the AGISAR will be an internationally integrated antimicrobial resistance surveillance program. Coordinated and continuous international surveillance programs will input data about zoonotic and enteric bacteria from animal, food, and human services to a central location available worldwide.