In March 2016, the EFFORT consortium partners Katharina Stärk, Jorge Pinto Ferreira (both from SAFOSO, CH) and Jeroen Dewulf (from Ghent University, Belgium) ran a workshop in Elsinore (Denmark). This was part of the annual meeting of the Society of Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM). The workshop was entitled “Quantifying antimicrobial usage: challenges and solutions”.
Over 30 participants attended this workshop. An online voting system was used to support interaction. An initial question on the country of origin revealed that the majority of participants were from the United Kingdom, Denmark and France. Most participants reported to work at universities and to be involved in research. Their main reason for attending the workshop was “direct relevance to my research interests”.
A presentation followed by Jorge Pinto Ferreira entitled “EU AB usage policies and what is currently done in EFFORT countries”. In this presentation, a brief summary of the relevant European related guidelines and policies was presented, followed by some of the key findings of a mapping exercise that focused on the activities that countries represented in the EFFORT consortium are currently conducting to quantify their antimicrobial usage and resistance in animals. The key finding was: There isn’t, at the moment, an EU-wide policy that mandates countries to report their antimicrobial usage.
Jeroen Dewulf then provided an overview of the different possible methods and units for measuring antimicrobial usage and the related advantages and limitations. On the current available sales data, the question was asked why they were still used so widely. Participants built an online real time word cloud, with key words that could explain this. The top three reasons were: “available”, “cheap” and “easy”. Participants were also asked if the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (ESVAC) data were suitable for comparisons between countries. Here the majority indicated a strong opinion for the need to have better data to allow comparison.
The presentations were followed by discussion, moderated by Katharina Stärk. Several limitations and challenges came up, including: the importance of gaining a better knowledge in the sectors of aquaculture, dairy industry (intra-mammary treatments) and companion animals, and the need to have a consolidated and mature scientific position around antimicrobial resistance and usage. This should facilitate the public policy making progress.
We would like to thank all the participants for their active engagement in the workshop.
Please find here below the presentation made during the event and make sure to follow the upcoming related publications.