Ionophore coccidiostats: risk of CO-selectioN of antImicrobial resistance – Clinical impact and intervention strategies (ICONIC)




Today’s intensive broiler production is highly dependent on in-feed ionophore coccidiostats. Because these ionophores are not used in humans, it is widely assumed that their use in poultry is not a risk for human health.

Recent evidence, however, suggests that they may cause co-selection of medically important antimicrobial resistance. This means that the use of ionophores can cause the spread of bacteria which, when they cause infections in humans, cannot be treated with certain antibiotics.

The ICONIC project aims to gain more insight into the magnitude of this problem by a analyzing and comparing bacteria from poultry, environment and humans. The results will yield a better understanding of the human health impact of ionophore use in poultry industry. In parallel, the project will investigate the effects of alternatives to the use of ionophores, providing leads for reducing the risk of resistant bacteria transmitting from the poultry chain to humans.

Project partners

  • Mariel Pikkemaat, Stichting Wageningen Research, Netherlands (Coordinator)
  • Anne Margrete Urdahl, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Norway
  • Roger Simm, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Daniela Maria Cirillo, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Italy
  • Isabelle Kempf, Anses, laboratoire de Ploufragan, France
  • Jowita Niczyporuk, National Veterinary Research Institute PIWet, Poland