• Open Access

ECDC/EFSA/EMA first joint report on the integrated analysis of the consumption of antimicrobial agents and occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from humans and food-producing animals


  • European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control,

  • European Food Safety Authority,

  • European Medicines Agency

  • Correspondence: zoonoses@efsa.europa.eu
  • Acknowledgement: ECDC, EFSA and EMA wish to thank the members of the joint Working Group: Yvonne Agersø, Christina Greko, Gérard Moulin, Rob van Oosterom, Pascal Sanders, Chris Teale and John Threlfall for the preparatory work on this scientific report, the EU Reference Laboratory on Antimicrobial Resistance for peer-review, and the Networks of ECDC, EFSA and EMA for consultation. Also the support provided to this scientific output is gratefully acknowledged: ECDC staff members: Liselotte Diaz-Högberg, Ole Heuer, Dominique Monnet, Arno Muller, Klaus Weist and Therese Westrell, EFSA staff members: Pierre-Alexandre Belœil and Ernesto Liebana-Criado; and EMA staff members: Kari Grave, Kristina Ignate, Zoltan Kunsagi and Jordi Torren-Edo.
  • Approval date: 27 January 2015
  • Published date: 30 January 2015
  • Question number: EFSA-Q-2012-00651
  • On request from: European Commission


The ECDC, the EFSA and the EMA have for the first time jointly explored associations between consumption of antimicrobials in humans and food-producing animals, and antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from humans and food-producing animals, using 2011 and 2012 data currently available from their relevant five EU monitoring networks. Combined data on antimicrobial consumption and corresponding resistance in animals and humans for EU MSs and reporting countries were analysed using logistic regression models for selected combinations of bacteria and antimicrobials. A summary indicator of the proportion of resistant bacteria in the main food-producing animal species was calculated for the analysis, as consumption data in food-producing animals were not available at the species level. Comparison of antimicrobial consumption data in animals and humans in 2012, both expressed in milligrams per kilogram of estimated biomass, revealed that overall antimicrobial consumption was higher in animals than in humans, although contrasting situations were observed between countries. The consumption of several antimicrobials extensively used in animal husbandry was higher in animals than in humans, while consumption of antimicrobials critically important for human medicine (such as fluoroquinolones and 3rd- and 4th-generation cephalosporins) was higher in humans. In both humans and animals, positive associations between consumption of antimicrobials and the corresponding resistance in bacteria were observed for most of the combinations investigated. In some cases, a positive association was also found between antimicrobial consumption in animals and resistance in bacteria from humans. While highlighting findings of concern, these results should be interpreted with caution owing to current data limitations and the complexity of the AMR phenomenon, which is influenced by several factors besides antimicrobial consumption. Recommendations to address current data limitations for analyses of this type were identified. In any case, responsible use of antimicrobials in both humans and animals should be promoted.