The ESVAC data for 2011 showed that in the 20 European countries that reported for 2010 and 2011 that there was a drop in antimicrobial consumption of 10%, nearly 670 tonnes of active substance. In the meantime, the population correction units (pcus), the measure of animal production, rose by 0.3%.
This was indeed surprising data. The Italian data had been added to the 2010 report and all 19 EU countries and Norway showed this dramatic change, except for Spain, which had a small increase of 1.9%. The reduction ranged from -0.7% to as much as -28.6% in Hungary and the total tonnage used in the 20 reporting countries fell from 6694.8 to 6025.2.
New countries were added for the 2011 data with Germany and Italy comprising 1819 and 1663 tonnes of active, with only Spain in the same category at 1779 tonnes making the overall 25 country average consumption 336.8 tonnes/year. Only Luxembourg, Romania, Greece and Croatia are absent, so the Member States (MS) have really taken this procedure on board.
This data does start to give us a baseline for use over the EU. The average MS uses 336.8 tonnes of antibiotic, it has a pcu of 2235000 tonnes and the average mg of antibiotic/pcu is 111.1. France and the Netherlands are at that level at 117 and 114 mg/pcu, respectively. The high users, over 200mg/pcu, were Cyprus (408), Italy (370), Spain (249) and Germany (211). The lowest users, below 50mg/pcu, were Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Slovakia and Slovenia. There would appear to be major differences between countries, due to different types of meat production systems and possibly intensity of production. Interestingly, countries where veterinarians do not dispense but only prescribe fall into both extremes, e.g. Italy (370), Denmark (43) and Slovenia (43), suggesting this is not really a key driver in antibiotic use.
Overall, it is positive news that the EU is addressing the use of antibiotics in animal production and the overall trend to 2011 is also very positive, although there is a substantial disparity in use. It will be interesting to see how this trend goes in the future. For direct access to the report, click here. http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/news_and_events/news/2013/10/news_detail_001923.jsp&mid=WC0b01ac058004d5c1