A CORWEN farmer who developed a life-threatening infection is urging his fellow farmers to be aware of the dangers posed to human and animal health by antibiotic resistance.

A seemingly simple cut resulted in beef and sheep farmer Arwel Evans developing an infection, which put his life in danger as doctors battled to find an effective antibiotic.

Now recovered, he said: “I developed sepsis, and the doctors tried all different antibiotics, but none would work on me because the infection I had was resistant to them.

“We were down to one last antibiotic, and fortunately, it worked. Had it not, I would have lost my leg, or I could even have died.

“It is so important that farmers are aware of antibiotic resistance and how it can put their own health at serious risk.

“I know when you’ve got sick animals, you want to get them better, but unless we are more careful and selective in how we use antibiotics, there is a danger they won’t be effective for us and our animals when we need them most.”


Nude calendar by ‘breast friends’ in Tremeirchion raises nearly £19K

Pendre Fawr Farm had suffered with a large number of cases of watery mouth – a potentially fatal disease affecting newborn lambs.

The disease is associated with the ingestion by lambs of non-specific strains of E.coli bacteria which result in an endotoxic syndrome.

It was once commonplace on many farms to administer antibiotics to newborn lambs to prevent outbreaks.

But investigations revealed that many of the E.coli bacteria at Pendre Fawr were resistant to common antibiotics, with the E.coli isolates only sensitive to some antibiotics.

Eventually, the only effective antibiotics were those designated as critically important for human medicine.

Using them on the farm was not a long-term solution because the more antibiotics are used, the greater the potential for further resistance to develop. 

Working with the farm’s vet, Dr Joe Angell of Wern Vets CYF, a plan was devised to successfully reduce the need to use antibiotics at Pendre Fawr.

Activity included investigating the sensitivities of the E.coli causing the watery mouth cases and implementing non-pharmacological protocols to prevent the disease.

The results have been impressive, and farm antibiotic use has reduced dramatically to low levels, with use focusing on the lowest category antibiotics in targeted situations only.

The number of cases of watery mouth has dropped, and the administration of antibiotics to prevent the disease has been phased out completely, with routine monitoring carried out to keep an eye on the situation.

There has been such a dramatic improvement in the sensitivities of the E.coli bacteria isolated from clinical cases of watery mouth disease that lower-category antibiotics can be used again to treat clinical cases, making it much easier to treat sick animals with bacterial infections.

The use of antibiotics vital to human health has been phased out completely. 

Mr Evans added: “We were running out of options, so we had to do something quickly.

“I am delighted that by making simple changes, we have been able to reduce the need to use antibiotics on the farm, and my livestock are healthier.

“But I can’t stress enough how important it is to safeguard these critical antibiotics; I owe my life to them being effective.”