The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate a feasible system for the collection of antimicrobial consumption data in farm animals in Austria. An electronic registry of all antibacterial pharmaceuticals approved in Austria for use in farm animals was created, listing product name, marketing authorisation number, active ingredient, package unit, strength, target species (cattle, swine, poultry), route of administration and indication, and allocating the corresponding code of the World Health Organization (WHO) Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification system for veterinary medicines to each substance (ATCvet-code). Different units (absolute quantities, animal daily dose, assumed daily product dose) enabled computation of the amounts of antimicrobials as pure substance, the constituents of a veterinary medicinal product, or the number of administrations. Two data collection systems were evaluated: (1) data transfer from the management software of veterinary practices or the Austrian Poultry Health Service; and (2) on-site data collection by manual data input from prescription records into an electronic registry. A total of 14,267 data sets provided by 18 practices were documented during the period January 2008 to March 2010. The total weight of active substances reported amounted to more than 5.4 tonnes for all species studied. The systems proved suitable for routine data acquisition and were considered in a recent national regulation on the surveillance of sale and consumption of veterinary antimicrobial substances.
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