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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Geographic Drivers of Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Pigs in Khon Kaen Province, Thailand

Huber, Laura; Hallenberg, Gunilla Strom; Lunha, Kamonwan; Leangapichart, Thongpan; Jiwakanon, Jatesada; Hickman, Rachel A.; Magnusson, Ulf; Sunde, Marianne; Jarhult, Josef D.; Van Boeckel, Thomas P.;


In Thailand, pig production has increased considerably in the last decades to meet a growing demand for pork. Antimicrobials are used routinely in intensive pig production to treat infections and increase productivity. However, the use of antimicrobials also contributes to the rise of antimicrobial resistance with potential consequences for animal and human health. Here, we quantify the association between antimicrobial use and resistance rates in extensive and intensive farms with a focus on geographic proximity between farm and drugstores. Of the 164 enrolled farms, 79% reported using antimicrobials for disease prevention, treatment, or as a feed additive. Antimicrobial-resistant E. coli were present in 63% of farms. These drugs included critically important antimicrobials, such as quinolones and penicillins. Medium-scale farms with intensive animal production practices showed higher resistance rates than small-scale farms with extensive practices. Farms with drug-resistant Escherichia coli were located closer to drugstores and a had a higher proportion of disease than farms without drug-resistant E. coli. We found no association between the presence of resistance in humans and antimicrobial use in pigs. Our findings call for actions to improve herd health to reduce the need for antimicrobials and systematic training of veterinarians and drugstore owners on judicious use of antimicrobials in animals to mitigate resistance.


Escherichia coli; antimicrobial resistance; antimicrobial use; pig; intensive production

Published in

Frontiers in Veterinary Science

2021, volume: 8, article number: 659051

Authors' information

Huber, Laura
Auburn University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Lunha, Kamonwan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Leangapichart, Thongpan
Norwegian Veterinary Institute
Jiwakanon, Jatesada
Khon Kaen University
Hickman, Rachel A.
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Sunde, Marianne
Norwegian Veterinary Institute
Jarhult, Josef D.
Uppsala University
Van Boeckel, Thomas P.
ETH Zurich

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG3 Good health and wellbeing

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

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