Piloting on-site interventions for reducing antimicrobial use in livestock farming emerging economies (REDUCE AMU)





Increasing intensification and expansion of the livestock sector in emerging economies is a large user of antimicrobials, driving the global emergence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in livestock, humans and the environment.

Ongoing project

The objective here is to test interventions aimed to reduce antimicrobial use (AMU) in livestock in emerging economies using the pig production in Thailand as a study case. Regulations may not be sufficient to reduce AMU in the livestock sector and can therefore have limited impact on the resulting development of AMR in the biota. Thus, there is a need to find interventions that do not depend solely on regulation.

The novelty is that we will test interventions by computer simulations based on primary data generated through a One Health approach. Based on known distributions of pig production we will record knowledge, attitudes and practices related to AMU and animal management among pig farmers. Then we will collect samples from pigs, pig farmers and control human subjects who are not in contact with pigs and perform phenotypic and molecular analysis of the AMR profiles.

Using these data-sets, we will do spatial analyses and model the impacts of altering variables for practices related to AMU, animal management and farm structure, with emphasis on farmers’ incentives, to explore whether these would be expected to lead to a reduction in AMU. Ultimately, we will assess if such a reduction can be related to the burden of AMR in pigs, pig farmers and non-exposed humans. Finally, we will assess the economic and social feasibility of the tested interventions.

Project partners

  • Ulf Magnusson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden (Coordinator)
  • Josef Järhult, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Thomas P. Van Boeckel, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • Marianne Sunde, The Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Norway
  • Jatesada Jiwakanon, Khon Kaen University, Thailand
  • Karl M Rich, International Livestock Research Institute, Vietnam

Countries with emerging economies experience an intensification in livestock production. As a consequence, the consumption of antibiotics increases, and with that, the problem of antibiotic resistance that can spread from livestock to humans and the environment. A significant part of the antibiotic use in the world today goes to pig and poultry production in Asia. A country with such a growing economy is Thailand.

This project will use pig production in Thailand as a case and by modelling test measures that can help reduce the use of antibiotics in livestock production. The project is highly multi-disciplinary and includes veterinarians, doctors, modelers, economists and microbiologists. The consortium will through a One Health-approach test the impact of various measures. Input data for the modelling are collected in the field in North eastern Thailand and comprise mapping and documenting what kind of knowledge and attitudes the pig producers have, how pig production is performed and organized. Furthermore, mapping presence of several kinds of resistant bacteria in samples from pigs, pig farmers and from a control group of people who have not been in contact with pigs has been performed. In-depth analyzes of the resistant bacteria will be performed, using whole genome sequencing.

Interviews and sampling of pig farms and humans in Thailand started in late September 2018 and ended in January 2020. The initial laboratory work was carried out at the University of Khon Kaen, and was followed-at the Veterinary Institute in Oslo, Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Science. Further work on data analyses is ongoing. The data generated from field and laboratory work will thus serve as input for the modelling work that will be carried out at ETH.