Top hot spots of antimicrobial resistance in animals

The study, published on 20 September in Science assessed the development of drug-resistant pathogens in developing countries. It found hot spots of multidrug resistance in animals in parts of China and India, as well as rapidly emerging ones in Kenya and Brazil.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, study co-author and founder-director of the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, Washington, said “Immediate actions are required in China and India to mitigate the impact of AMR on both their own animals and citizens, and as part of the wider global community.”

To map resistance trends in food animals across LMICs, researchers working on the study developed a geospatial model using data from the 2008-2018 point-prevalence survey that gave a global snapshot of rates of antibiotic resistance in animals and food products.

“We hope to draw attention to the fact that resistance is not just a problem for humans but also a problem for sick animals,” Laxminarayan said. “The study provides policymakers and scientists with a comprehensive mapping of AMR in animals across LMICs for the first time.”

Over the past 20 years, meat consumption has plateaued in higher income countries but grown by 68 per cent, 64 per cent, and 40 per cent in Asia, Africa and South America, respectively, the report states. Asia is home to 56 per cent of the world’s pig population and 54 per cent of the world’s chickens.

The research team has created an open-access web platform to share their findings and gather additional data on resistance in animals. For example, veterinarians and state-authorities can upload data on resistance in their region to the platform and share it with other people who are interested.

Van Boeckel, T.P.; Pires, J.; Silvester, R.; Cheng Zhao; Song, J.; Criscuolo, N. G.; Gilbert, M.; Bonhoeffer, S.; Laxminarayan, R. 2019. Global trends in antimicrobial resistance in animals in low- and middle-income countries. Science 20 Sep 2019, Vol. 365, Issue 6459, eaaw1944; DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw1944