Use of antimicrobials by class in pigs in Germany : a longitudinal description considering different international categorisation systems
Antimicrobial usage in both human and veterinary medicine is considered one of the main drivers of antimicrobial resistance; its reduction poses a serious challenge. To analyse the associations between usage and resistance, data from monitoring systems and classification of all antimicrobial substances are crucial. In this analysis, we investigated longitudinal data collected between 2013 and 2020 within the Veterinary Consumption of Antibiotics project from pig farms in Germany, including all antimicrobial classes, but focusing on critically important antimicrobials: third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones, macrolides, and polymyxins. Analysing the treatment frequency, we found that a reduction in antimicrobial use in all types of pig production has occurred over time, accompanied by a rising percentage of farms without any usage. The lists of the World Health Organisation, World Organisation for Animal Health, and European Medicine Agency classify different antimicrobial substances as critically important. The vast differences between the respective weighted treatment frequencies allocated to the antimicrobials of main interest reflect the huge impact of the three categorisation systems. We concluded that, with the aim of creating national treatment guidelines supporting veterinarians to make treatment decisions, the list of the European Medicine Agency is the most suitable.