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Episode 4

The backyard: at home with resistant bacteria

Our backyards are full of resistant microbes. In this episode, we find out how they spread through all living organisms – including our pets, our farm animals and our wildlife. We head to the south coast of Australia for some birdwatching, and find out why migratory birds act as a “canary in the coal mine” for the spread of superbugs in our environment and why we need to pay more attention to this. We speak to vets and pet owners about the use of antibiotics in our much-loved pets. We consider an approach to antimicrobial stewardship known as One Health or ‘planetary health’ that considers the interconnected health of entire planet – humans, animals and the environment.

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In this episode

Dr Laura Hardefeldt is a veterinarian and veterinary scientist with an emerging national leadership role in antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). She was the lead researcher in this study on Antimicrobial stewardship in companion animal practice: an implementation trial in 135 general practice veterinary clinics.

Elisha, Jarrod, Evie and Leila Sebani invited us into their home to share their story of their canine family member living with a chronic antimicrobial resistant skin infection.

Dr Sam Crothers is a veterinary dermatologist and the Sebani’s family vet.

Associate Professor Chris Degeling is a health social scientist and public health ethicist at the University of Wollongong who focuses on the socio-political and ethical dimensions of communicable disease control.

Professor Steven Djordjevic is Professor of Infectious Disease and Group Leader in the Ithree Institute at the University of Technology Sydney. His research generates and interrogates genomic and proteomics data to mitigate against AMR, understand pathogen evolution and to identify and characterize novel antigens for vaccine development.

This episode was produced by Dr Britta Jorgensen and Sarah Mashman. Executive producer is Professor Mia Lindgren. Hosted by Dr Britta Jorgensen. Original music by Associate Professor Dan Golding. Additional music by Blue Dot Sessions. Mixing by Melissa May. Cover art and website design by the Swinburne Design Bureau.