Princeton University Library Catalog

Agricultural Antibiotic Use in Europe: Estimation of Risk in Cattle, Swine, and Poultry Farms and its Implications for Public Health

Sánchez, Julie [Browse]
Senior thesis
Levin, Simon [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology [Browse]
Class year:
63 pages
Summary note:
The agricultural use of antibiotics in the European Union has been reported in a yearly composition from the European Medicines Agency (2013) that considers the veterinary application of antibiotics as a sum of total sales for all livestock species. However, because of the wide range of antibiotics needed in different livestock sectors (i.e. more antibiotics are usually needed for pigs than cattle) is imperative that consumption data be reported based on individual species. In order to stress the importance of this matter, this paper assesses the areas of highest risk of resistant bacteria emergence in cattle, swine, and poultry farms based on a linear model and data from established veterinary antibiotic surveillance systems in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, and the U.K, as well as the European Medicines Agency (2013) report on total annual sales of veterinary antibiotics. Because farms with higher animal populations are at highest risk of resistance emergence (due to higher animal populations and thus higher contact rates, reduced hygiene, etc.) the linear model was applied to only those farms that were considered intensive farming systems, with a minimum population required in each type of farm. The cattle farms with highest risk of resistant bacteria emergence were located in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Denmark. Pig farms with high risk were the United Kingdom, northern France, Denmark, and northwestern Germany. Poultry farms with high risk were United Kingdom, northwestern France, and Belgium. Interestingly, these high risk nations were mostly those that reported, so further studies must be done to gauge the applicability of our model to true resistance emergence risk in al other EU nations that were not found to be of high risk in this report. In addition, this report analyzes the significance of the applied antibiotics to clinical antibiotic use. The most commonly applied antibiotics in all 25 EU nations were tetracyclines, penicillins, and sulfonamides. This information could have serious public health implications since these antibiotic classes are also used in humans and may lead to increased resistance in human commensal bacteria, as well as bacteria of zoonotic origin with the potential to transfer to human populations.