Sales of antibiotics for use in animals in the UK are at a four-year low, putting the UK on track to meet ambitious targets to tackle antibiotic resistance, according to a Defra report.
Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to human health - experts believe if we do not take action it could be responsible for ten million deaths per year and cost the global economy $100 trillion by 2050. In September, the Government announced plans to tackle it, including a commitment to significantly reduce antibiotic use in animals.
Defra’s report shows overall sales by weight dropped by 9% from 2014 to 2015, while sales for use in food-producing animals dropped 10% from 62 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) to 56mg/kg. This continues a ten-year downward trend and puts the UK on track to reach its 50mg/kg target by 2018.
Sales of highest priority critically important antibiotics remain low and were little changed compared to 2014: sales of 3rd and 4th generation cephalosporins were 0.17mg/PCU in 2015 (compared to 0.19mg/PCU in 2014) and sales of fluoroquinolones were 0.34mg/PCU in 2015 (compared to 0.35 mg/PCU in 2014).
Colistin was included as a critically important antibiotic for the first time in this year’s UK-VARSS report, following the discovery of the plasmid mediated gene mcr-1 in China in November 2015. Sales of colistin in the UK were 0.12mg/PCU, which is below the European Medicines Agency’s Antimicrobial Expert Group’s recommended.
Antibiotic Usage and Data Collection Activities by Livestock Species
- The Cattle Health and Welfare Group completed a scoping study to investigate current data recording systems and has developed a proposal for a data capture system, that should be operational by 2017.
- The British Poultry Council reported that use of antibiotics by members of its Antibiotic Stewardship Scheme in 2015 reduced by 27% compared to 2014, including a 52% reduction in the use of fluoroquinolones.
- Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board pork reported that, by the end of October 2016, 534 sites had signed up to their online reporting system eMB-Pigs, covering 17% of national pig production (2,544,186 finishers, 2,988,379 weaners and 371,580 sows and boars).
Percentage resistance in E. coli from randomly selected healthy pigs
In 2015, isolates of E. coli from the caeca of healthy pigs randomly selected at slaughter were tested for resistance. Of the 150 isolates of E. coli tested, 1% were resistant to ciprofloxacin; none were resistant to cefotaxime, ceftazidime or colistin. However, following enrichment, presumptive extended spectrum ß-lactamase (ESBL) producing E. coli were detected in 24.7% of 327 caecal samples. No carbapenemase or OXA-48 producing E. coli were detected in 294 caecal samples cultured on selective agar.
Thursday November 17, 2016/ DEFRA/ United Kingdom.