Measuring medicine use in livestock supports the fight against antimicrobial resistance

Measuring how much antimicrobial medication is given to food animals is key to understanding how to slow antimicrobial resistance, when dangerous microbes get so used to antimicrobials that they evolve stronger defenses against them. However, measuring the actual antimicrobial use in animals on a large scale is still a logistical challenge. Because data on antimicrobial sales for use in food animals are easier to obtain, they are frequently used at the national levels as proxies for antimicrobial use. In a first-of-its-kind study published recently in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, scientists at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine analyzed four different measurement methods used across the globe in the hopes of steering governing groups toward a more unified system. The study was supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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