Antibiotics: progress continues

Cattle exposure to antibiotics has decreased by almost 11% in 2019.
On 18 November, the national agencies for health safety (Anses) and veterinary medicinal products (ANMV) presented the annual report on antibiotic consumption in the animal sector by videoconference. Delphine Urban (ANMV) welcomed the "good results for 2019", which are in line with those already obtained under the EcoAntibio 1 (2012-2016) and 2 (2017-2021) plans.

In 2019, sales of antibiotics, all species combined, totalled 422 tonnes (-10.5% compared to 2018), the lowest quantity since monitoring began in 1999 (1,311 tonnes). The exposure of animals to antibiotics decreased by 10.9% between 2018 and 2019 (-45% since 2011): -9.9% for cattle (-25.5% since 2011), -16.4% for pigs (-54% since 2011), -12.8% for poultry (-60.5% since 2011).

More "antibiotic-resistant" calves

In cattle, "exposure to antibiotics seems to be relatively stable since 2015", notes L'Anses, after the clear decrease recorded over the previous ten years. Between 2018 and 2019, a decrease in exposure is observed for all families of antibiotics, except for fluoroquinolones (+1.4%) and penicillins (+1.1%). The number of intramammary treatments per dairy cow decreases by 15.4% (-31.4% since 2011).

Resapath's 2019 results show that resistance to critical antibiotics and colistin is also tending to decline. In cattle, however, the findings are to be qualified according to the age of the animals. "Calves contribute the most to resistance to critically important antibiotics," observes Jean-Yves Madec (Anses), scientific director in charge of this field.

"Antimicrobials, the right way, the right time".
On the occasion of the European Antibiotic Information Day (18 November 2020) and the World Week for the Proper Use of Antimicrobials (18-24 November), the Ministry of Agriculture is launching an awareness-raising campaign aimed at farmers and pet owners: "Antimicrobials, the right way, the right time".

It calls on them to "strengthen the prevention of bacterial diseases by improving the living conditions of animals, adopting better hygiene practices and vaccinating animals". So as to "limit the use of antibiotics, limit the risk of the emergence of resistant bacteria and preserve the effectiveness of veterinary treatments".

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