EU publishes first integrated report on antibiotic resistance in humans, animals

Publication will help to inform future action plan

The first integrated analysis of data from humans, animals and food on the use of certain antimicrobials and associated resistance has been published in a European Union report.

The report, First joint report on the integrated analysis of the consumption of antimicrobial agents and occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria and humans from food-producing animals, was released jointly by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).  

The analysis was carried out at the request of the European Commission and combines data from five European monitoring networks that gather information from the EU Member States, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. The report’s authors note that the holistic approach taken in compiling the report makes better use of the existing data and.

The report should help to strengthen coordinated surveillance systems on antimicrobial consumption and antimicrobial resistance in human and veterinary medicine and so allow policy makers to decide on the best way to tackle antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals. It will be used to inform the European Commission’s action plan on antimicrobial resistance, and will also contribute to establishing methodologies and priorities in the fight against the development of antimicrobial resistance.


However, the authors also note that their work has identified limitations in data that need to be addressed to allow further analysis and conclusions to be drawn.

These include additional data on antimicrobial consumption by animal species, data on antimicrobial consumption in hospitals and additional European countries, and monitoring of resistant bacteria in the normal flora from both healthy and diseased people.

IFAH-Europe, which represents the European veterinary medicines industry, has said that it is “pleased” with the report.

It notes that the correlations found between the use of antibiotics in animals and resistance in animals reinforces the importance of continuing to promote the responsible use message, which the animal health industry fully supports along with other partners along the food chain.

 There are improvements to be made in methodology, as pointed out in the report, it says, but the association is fully committed to continuing to work with the agencies involved.