New ESVAC report: antibiotics use falls again in animal breeding in Europe. Further efforts are necessary, in Belgium as well

date: 31/10/2019

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) published the ninth ESVAC report (European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption) about the sale of antibacterial agents for veterinary use in 2017.

On October 15, 2019, the ninth ESVAC report appeared, a representation of the sales numbers of antibacterial agents for veterinary use in 2017. The results of 31 EU/EEA member states are laid out.

Falling European trend
The sale of antibiotics is expressed in mg/PCU and takes into account the number of living animals and how many kilograms of meat is produced. The total use for all 31 countries in 2017 was 107 mg/PCU. This is a reduction of 17.6 mg/PCU compared to the previous year.

On average, sales in the EU of antibacterial agents for veterinary use decreased by 32.5% between 2011 and 2017. Nineteen countries saw a reduction of more than 5 %, ranging from -7.7 to -57.9 %. Not all countries, however, experienced a reduction. Three countries experienced an increase of more than 5 %.

The sale of critical substances, which are antibacterial substances that are important for public health, amounted to 0.2 mg/PCU, 2.2 mg/PCU and 3.4 mg/PCU, respectively, for third and fourth generation cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and polymyxins.

On the EMA website an interactive database is available where specific trends can be checked to see whether figures from selected Member States can be compared.

In Belgium, a reduction of 27.2 % compared to 2010 was achieved with 131.3 mg/PCU for 2017. This means that antibiotic consumption in animals remains relatively high, also compared with neighbouring countries with a similar animal husbandry structure such as France (68.6 mg/PCU), the Netherlands (56.3 mg/PCU) or Germany (89.0 mg/PCU). Belgium will therefore have to make sustained efforts to reduce the use further.

In Belgium, sales of third and fourth generation cephalosporins fell sharply in 2017 (to 0.10 mg/PCU). This is also the case for fluoroquinolones, (0.22 mg/PCU). This has everything to do with the new measures concerning the use of critical means (mandatory sampling and sensitivity determination) and the publication of the Royal Decree of 21 July 2016 concerning the conditions for the use of medicines by veterinary surgeons and by those responsible for animals.

The use of polymyxins (mainly colistin) decreases significantly (2.14 mg/PCU in 2017) and remains linked to the use of ZnO that became available in 2013 as an alternative for the treatment of diarrhoea in weaned piglets. Compared with 2012, (the year before ZnO became available) the use of colistin decreased by more than 60 %. For the macrolide group, in 2017 (8.05 mg/PCU) the status quo to slight decrease can be noted compared to 2010 (8.3 mg/PCU).

Further information
9th ESVAC report on the EMA website
News report from the EMA


Last updated on 31/10/2019