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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Antimicrobial resistance at the livestock-human interface: implications for Veterinary Services

Magnusson, U.; Moodley, A.; Osbjer, K.


The emergence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major global public health issue, but it also jeopardises the effectiveness of antimicrobials as a means of curing infections in animals that threaten their health, welfare and productivity. Several reports show that infections in humans caused by antimicrobial-resistant pathogens may be linked to antimicrobial use (AMU) and AMR in food-producing animals; however, to what extent this happens is unknown. Use of antimicrobials drives the emergence of AMR, therefore, their extensive over-use and misuse in livestock is of concern.Robust AMU and AMR data are important to monitor the progress of interventions aiming to reduce AMR in the livestock sector. However, not all countries have complete data on antibiotic sales or use, so our current knowledge of global AMU is primarily based on modelling estimates. Antimicrobial resistance prevalence data are limited, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, but in some high-income regions fairly robust data are available. It should also be noted that monitoring guidelines and protocols are available to provide globally harmonised AMR data.Using antimicrobials rationally and not using them for disease prevention purposes is key to reducing AMU. To ensure that these drugs are used appropriately we must ensure that: a) veterinary services are accessible and affordable for farmers; b) antibiotics are only sold on prescription; c) veterinarians earn no revenue linked to the sale or prescription of antibiotics; d) veterinarians have substantial skills in preventive medicine (good animal husbandry, efficient biosecurity and vaccinology); and e) the benefits of preventive measures must appeal to farmers so that they are willing to pay for them.


Animal husbandry; Antibiotics; Antimicrobial resistance; Antimicrobial use; Biosecurity; Farmers; Livestock; Vaccination; Veterinary service

Published in

Revue Scientifique et Technique- Office International des Epizooties
2021, volume: 40, number: 2, pages: 511-521

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Moodley, A.
University of Copenhagen
Moodley, A.
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG17 Partnerships for the goals

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

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