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Measuring antibiotic use: a way forward
  1. Patrick Butaye
  1. Department of Bacteriology and Immunolgy, Veterinary and Agrochemical Research Centre,VAR-CODA-CERVA, Groeselenberg 99, B-1180 Ukkel, Belgium
  1. e-mail: partick.butaye{at}

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ANTIMICROBIAL use is seen as the main driver for antimicrobial resistance, as cited in the paper by Moreno (2012), summarised on p 325 of this week's issue of Veterinary Record. Many other factors may also play a role in the dissemination of antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

Research into antimicrobial resistance is already well developed at the level of mechanisms and epidemiology of resistant bacteria/resistance genes, while research on antibiotic use is only in its infancy. One of the main reasons for this is that the question, ‘how to measure use’ remains largely unanswered. Many different ways of measuring antimicrobial use have been proposed, first in human medicine (as was developed in the European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption project, 2001) and then in veterinary medicine by the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption project in 2009. It is clear that the systems are not transferable, making comparisons difficult. One difference is the treatment protocols used. In human medicine, a treatment is usually a well-defined standard dose per individual; however, it is different in veterinary medicine, where group treatments, inherent to the housing of the animals, tend to be …

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