Trends and correlates of antimicrobial use in broiler and turkey farms: a poultry company registry-based study in Italy

Claudia Caucci, Guido Di Martino, Alessandro Dalla Costa, Manuel Santagiuliana, Monica Lorenzetto, Katia Capello, Lapo Mughini-Gras, Luigi Gavazzi, Lebana Bonfanti

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    BACKGROUND: Antimicrobial usage (AMU) in livestock plays a key role in the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Analysis of AMU data in livestock is therefore relevant for both animal and public health.

    OBJECTIVES: To assess AMU in 470 broiler and 252 turkey farms of one of Italy's largest poultry companies, accounting for around 30% of national poultry production, to identify trends and risk factors for AMU.

    METHODS: Antimicrobial treatments administered to 5827 broiler and 1264 turkey grow-out cycles in 2015-17 were expressed as DDDs for animals per population correction unit (DDDvet/PCU). A retrospective analysis was conducted to examine the effect of geographical area, season and prescribing veterinarian on AMU. Management and structural interventions implemented by the company were also assessed.

    RESULTS: AMU showed a 71% reduction in broilers (from 14 to 4 DDDvet/PCU) and a 56% reduction in turkeys (from 41 to 18 DDDvet/PCU) during the study period. Quinolones, macrolides and polymyxins decreased from 33% to 6% of total AMU in broilers, and from 56% to 32% in turkeys. Broiler cycles during spring and winter showed significantly higher AMU, as well as those in densely populated poultry areas. Different antimicrobial prescribing behaviour was identified among veterinarians.

    CONCLUSIONS: This study evidenced a decreasing trend in AMU and identified several correlates of AMU in broilers and turkeys. These factors will inform the design of interventions to further reduce AMU and therefore counteract antimicrobial resistance in these poultry sectors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2784-2787
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


    • drug resistance
    • microbial
    • geographic area
    • italy
    • polymyxins
    • quinolones
    • turkeys
    • veterinarians
    • macrolides
    • fowls
    • domestic
    • poultry meat
    • public health
    • medicine
    • antimicrobials
    • prescribing behavior
    • farm animals
    • farming environment


    Dive into the research topics of 'Trends and correlates of antimicrobial use in broiler and turkey farms: a poultry company registry-based study in Italy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this