Assigning Defined Daily/Course Doses for Antimicrobials in Turkeys to Enable a Cross-Country Quantification and Comparison of Antimicrobial Use

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threatens our public health and is mainly driven by antimicrobial usage (AMU). For this reason the World Health Organization calls for detailed monitoring of AMU over all animal sectors involved. Therefore, we aimed to quantify AMU on turkey farms. First, turkey-specific Defined Daily Dose (DDDturkey) was determined. These were compared to the broiler alternative from the European Surveillance of Veterinary Antimicrobial Consumption (DDDvet), that mention DDDvet as a proxy for other poultry species. DDDturkey ranged from being 81.5% smaller to 48.5% larger compared to its DDDvet alternative for broilers. Second, antimicrobial treatments were registered on 60 turkey farms divided over France, Germany and Spain between 2014 and 2016 (20 flocks per country). Afterwards, AMU was quantified using treatment incidence (TI) per 100 days. TI expresses the percentage of the rearing period that the turkeys were treated with a standard dose of antimicrobials. Minimum, median and maximum TI at flock level and based on DDDturkey = 0.0, 10.0 and 65.7, respectively. Yet, a huge variation in amounts of antimicrobials used at flock level was observed, both within and between countries. Seven farms (12%) did not use any antimicrobials. Aminopenicillins, polymyxins, and fluoroquinolones were responsible for 72.2% of total AMU. The proportion of treating farms peaked on week five of the production cycle (41.7%), and 79.4% of the total AMU was administered in the first half of production. To conclude, not all DDDvet values for broilers can be applied to turkeys. Additionally, the results of AMU show potential for reducing and improving AMU on turkey farms, especially concerning the usage of critically important antimicrobials.