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Vet J. 2014 May;200(2):230-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.02.028. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Macrolides and lincosamides in cattle and pigs: use and development of antimicrobial resistance.

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Department of Production Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, 04920 Saarentaus, Finland. Electronic address:
National Board of Health, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.
Scientific Institute of Public Health, Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 13720, BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.
National Veterinary Institute, 751 89 Uppsala, Sweden.
Veterinary Faculty, Complutense University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain.
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, 1300-477 Lisbon, Portugal.
Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, 00014, Finland.
Lithuanian Veterinary Academy, 47181 Kaunas, Lithuania.
Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (ANSES), 35302 Fougères Cedex, France.
Health Protection Agency, Centre for Infections, Laboratory of Enteric Pathogens, London NW9 5EQ, UK.
European Medicines Agency, Animal and Public Health, London E14 8HB, UK.
Medical Products Agency, 751 03 Uppsala, Sweden.


Macrolides and lincosamides are important antibacterials for the treatment of many common infections in cattle and pigs. Products for in-feed medication with these compounds in combination with other antimicrobials are commonly used in Europe. Most recently approved injectable macrolides have very long elimination half-lives in both pigs and cattle, which allows once-only dosing regimens. Both in-feed medication and use of long-acting injections result in low concentrations of the active substance for prolonged periods, which causes concerns related to development of antimicrobial resistance. Acquired resistance to macrolides and lincosamides among food animal pathogens, including some zoonotic bacteria, has now emerged. A comparison of studies on the prevalence of resistance is difficult, since for many micro-organisms no agreed standards for susceptibility testing are available. With animal pathogens, the most dramatic increase in resistance has been seen in the genus Brachyspira. Resistance towards macrolides and lincosamides has also been detected in staphylococci isolated from pigs and streptococci from cattle. This article reviews the use of macrolides and lincosamides in cattle and pigs, as well as the development of resistance in target and some zoonotic pathogens. The focus of the review is on European conditions.


Antimicrobial resistance; Consumption; Food animal; Lincosamides; Macrolides

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