Strategies to reduce antimicrobials in livestock and aquaculture, and their impact under field conditions: a structured scoping literature review

Congratulations to João Sucena Afonso, Mahmoud El Tholth, K Marie Mcintyre, Luís Pedro Carmo, Lucy Coyne, Diego Manriquez, Didier Raboisson, Guillaume Lhermie, Jonathan Rushton for their recent paper published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemtherapy. You can find the full publication here.


Antimicrobial resistance is a pandemic problem, causing substantial health and economic burdens. Antimicrobials are extensively used in livestock and aquaculture, exacerbating this global threat. Fostering the prudent use of antimicrobials will safeguard animal and human health. A lack of knowledge about alternatives to replace antimicrobials, and their effectiveness under field conditions, hampers changes in farming practices.

This work aimed to understand the impact of strategies to reduce antimicrobial usage (AMU) in livestock and aquaculture, under field conditions, using a structured scoping literature review. The Extension for Scoping Reviews of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines (PRISMA-ScR) were followed and the Patient, Intervention, Comparison, Outcome, Time and Setting (PICOTS) framework used. Articles were identified from CAB Abstracts, MEDLINE and Scopus. A total of 7505 unique research articles were identified, 926 of which were eligible for full-text assessment; 203 articles were included in data extraction. Given heterogeneity across articles in the way alternatives to antimicrobials or interventions against their usage were described, there was a need to standardize these by grouping them in categories.

There were differences in the impacts of the strategies between and within species; this highlights the absence of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Nevertheless, some options seem more promising than others, as their impacts were consistently equivalent or positive when compared with animal performance using antimicrobials. This was particularly the case for bioactive protein and peptides, and feed/water management. The outcomes of this work provide data to inform cost-effectiveness assessments of strategies to reduce AMU.

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