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

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Current and Future Antimicrobial Resistance Issues for the Australian Pig Industry

Sam Abraham , Mark O'Dea , Stephen Page , Darren Trott


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. Whilst 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 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 MRSA have 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 to 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 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.

AN17358  Accepted 28 August 2017

© CSIRO 2017