Recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, the paper: Global trends in antimicrobial use in food animals, presents the first ‘global map’ of antimicrobial use in livestock, featuring 228 countries.
It revealed that the conservative estimate for total consumption of antimicrobials in 2010 was 63,151 tons. Consumption is forecast to almost double in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which the researchers put down to the growth in consumer demand for livestock products in middle-income countries “and a shift to large-scale farms where antimicrobials are used routinely”.
According to the report’s authors, despite the potential impact on human health of the overuse of antimicrobials, there has been no quantitative measurement of consumption by livestock. The researchers sought to address this, using Bayesian statistical models, “combining maps of livestock densities, economic projections of demand for meat products, and current estimates of antimicrobial consumption in high-income countries to map antimicrobial use in food animals for 2010 and 2030”.
Estimates were that global average annual consumption of antimicrobials per kilogram of animal produced was 45 mg⋅kg−1, 148 mg⋅kg−1, and 172 mg⋅kg−1 for cattle, chicken, and pigs, respectively, which was used as a baseline for future forecasts. By 2030, global consumption is predicted to have reach 105,596 tons, however greater understanding of the consequences of growth in antimicrobial usage is needed to assess the potential impact on human and animal health.
The authors of the report included Thomas P Van Boeckel from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, and Charles Brower from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economy & Policy in Washington DC.