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Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2005 Apr;96(4):271-81.

Veterinary drug usage and antimicrobial resistance in bacteria of animal origin.

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Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research, Copenhagen V, Denmark.


In the production of food animals, large amounts of antimicrobial agents are used for therapy and prophylaxis of bacterial infections and in feed to promote growth. There are large variations in the amounts of antimicrobial agents used to produce the same amount of meat among the different European countries, which leaves room for considerable reductions in some countries. The emergence of resistant bacteria and resistance genes due to the use of antimicrobial agents are well documented. In Denmark it has been possible to reduce the usage of antimicrobial agents for food animals significantly and in general decreases in resistance have followed. Guidelines for prudent use of antimicrobial agents may help to slow down the selection for resistance and should be based on knowledge regarding the normal susceptibility patterns of the causative agents and take into account the potential problems for human health. Current knowledge regarding the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in food animals, the quantitative impact of the use of different antimicrobial agents on selection of resistance and the most appropriate treatment regimes to limit the development of resistance is incomplete. Programmes monitoring the occurrence and development of resistance and consumption of antimicrobial agents are strongly desirable, as is research into the most appropriate ways to use antimicrobial agents in veterinary medicine.

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