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AMR and consumption: How to measure it?

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have established a set of indicators to help EU member states assess progress in reducing the use of antimicrobials and combatting resistance.

The indicators address both the human and animal sectors and they reflect antimicrobial consumption and antimicrobial resistance in the community, in hospitals and in food-producing animals. The indicators are based on data already gathered through existing EU monitoring networks.

For food-producing animals, indicators for antimicrobial consumption include:

  • overall sales of veterinary antimicrobials
  • sales of 3rd- and 4th-generation cephalosporins
  • sales of quinolones
  • sales of polymyxins

Finally, proposed indicators for AMR in food-producing animals are:

  • full susceptibility to a predefined panel of antimicrobials in E. coli
  • proportion of samples containing ESBL-/AmpC- producing E. coli
  • resistance to 3 or more antimicrobial classes in E. coli
  • resistance to Ciprofloxacin in E. coli
Management decisions should never be based on these indicators alone but should take into account the underlying data and their analysis. Photo: Dreamstime
Management decisions should never be based on these indicators alone but should take into account the underlying data and their analysis. Photo: Dreamstime

Valuable tools for monitoring antimicrobial consumption

For all sectors, the chosen indicators, which should be reconsidered at least every 5 years, are expected to be valid tools in monitoring antimicrobial consumption and AMR. With the exception of the proposed human AMR indicators, the indicators are in general not suitable to monitor the effects of targeted interventions in a specific sector, such as in a single animal species or animal production sector. Management decisions should never be based on these indicators alone but should take into account the underlying data and their analysis.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “When I presented the new EU Action Plan on AMR back in June, I promised that before the end of the year the Commission would define indicators to measure the progress of the EU and national action plans. I therefore very much welcome the Scientific Opinion prepared by ECDC, EMA and EFSA, setting out indicators that address both the human and animal sectors, in line with the EU Action Plan's One Health approach. Without these indicators we would not be able to assess our progress in tackling the serious health threat posed by AMR”.

The indicators are presented in the form of a scientific opinion.

[Source: EFSA]

One comment

  • David Burch

    Overall, this is very good news. I am surprised that they are not able to break it down further into different animal sectors, as usually on a national scale this is already done. Is it a matter of cost?

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