Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
REVIEW

Current and future antimicrobial resistance issues for the Australian pig industry

S. Abraham A , M. O’Dea A , S. W. Page B and D. J. Trott C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Antimicrobial Resistance and Infectious Diseases Laboratory, School of Veterinary Life Sciences, Murdoch University, WA 6150, Australia.

B Advanced Veterinary Therapeutics, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia.

C Australian Centre for Antimicrobial Resistance Ecology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: darren.trott@adelaide.edu.au

Animal Production Science 57(12) 2398-2407 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN17358
Submitted: 30 May 2017  Accepted: 28 August 2017   Published: 20 November 2017

Abstract

Antimicrobial use and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in intensive pig production and its potential impacts to human and animal health are very much under the spotlight, both internationally, and within Australia. While the majority of AMR of medical importance is associated with the exclusive use of antimicrobials in humans, resistance in zoonotic foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, and livestock commensal bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp., is under increased scrutiny. This is primarily due to the current reliance on many of the same drug classes as used in human medicine for treatment and control of bacterial diseases of livestock. Furthermore, the development of multidrug resistance in pathogens such as enterotoxigenic E. coli may drive off-label use of critically important drug classes such as 3rd-generation cephalosporins. This could lead to the emergence and amplification of resistance genes of potential public health significance in both pathogens and commensal bacteria. Livestock-associated and community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has also recently been detected in Australian pigs as a result of human-to-animal transmission and are a potential public health issue for in-contact piggery workers. Australia is in a unique position compared with many of its international trading partners due to its isolation, ban on importation of livestock and conservative approach to antimicrobial registration, including reservation of the fluoroquinolone class for use in humans and companion animals only. Cross-sectional AMR surveys of pathogens and commensals in healthy pigs have identified only low frequency of resistance to critically important drug classes. Nevertheless, resistance to critically important antimicrobials has emerged and careful antimicrobial stewardship is required to ensure that these low levels do not increase. In this report, we review AMR of significance to the Australian pig industry and identify potential prevention and control measures.

Additional keywords: antimicrobial stewardship, pig production, prudent use.


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