ANSES's work in monitoring antimicrobial resistance in animal health

To mark World Antibiotic Awareness Week and European Antibiotic Awareness Day, ANSES is publishing two reports reviewing the situation regarding antimicrobial resistance in animal health in 2018, and is participating in the interministerial symposium on 20 November entitled "Antibiotics are precious, let's use them more carefull y". The Agency is actively involved in the topic of antimicrobial resistance in animal health and in the food chain. Its research, reference, surveillance and risk assessment activities contribute to a greater understanding of the risks associated with antimicrobial resistance in the fields of livestock farming, food and the environment. This is part of an integrated approach across all types of medicine, according to the "One Health" concept covering both humans and animals. 


What is ANSES's role in combating antimicrobial resistance? 

The Agency tracks the use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine, monitors and studies antimicrobial resistance in animals, and only authorises the marketing of safe and effective veterinary antimicrobials.

Tracking the use of antimicrobials in animals

Every year, ANSES publishes a report on sales of veterinary medicinal products containing antimicrobials in France. Besides the French Agency for Veterinary Medicinal Products (ANMV), which monitors sales of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine and calculates indicators, ANSES's Ploufragan-Plouzané-Niort and Lyon laboratories also conduct ad hoc livestock surveys to collect descriptive data on the prescription and use of antimicrobials. 


Monitoring and understanding the presence of bacterial resistance in animals and food

ANSES is the National Reference Laboratory for antimicrobial resistance, and as such it monitors the resistance of bacteria in the food chain as part of surveillance plans that have been harmonised at European level. It also coordinates RESAPATH, the only network of its kind in Europe, which monitors resistance in pathogenic bacteria of animal origin.


Granting marketing authorisations for safe and effective veterinary antimicrobials, then monitoring them

The ANMV, part of ANSES, grants marketing authorisations (MAs) in France for veterinary antimicrobials. In this context, it assesses their quality, efficacy and safety for animals, consumers and the environment, taking into account the specific risk posed by the selection of resistant bacteria. 


Results for 2018

Data on the monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria of animal origin

  • Downward trends in bacterial resistance to critical antimicrobials are confirmed.
  • Concerning colistin, the data show that the situation has been kept under control over the last ten years, with a constant decrease in resistance to this antibiotic.
  • In 2018, more than 565,000 antibiograms were collected by the network.


Resistance of bacteria in the food chain

  • A large reduction in the prevalence of extended-spectrum betalactamase (ESBL)/AmpC-producing E. coli bacteria in chicken meat sold in France: 26% in 2018 compared with 62% in 2016.
  • This 58.3% decrease exceeds the target set by the Ecoantibio  plan (2017-2021) of a 50% reduction in five years in the prevalence of ESBL E. coli in poultry (broiler) samples at the distribution stage.


Monitoring of sales of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine

  • This shows a 5.5% decrease in sales compared to 2017, with the lowest volume (471 tonnes) recorded since 1999.
  • After a significant and steady decline since 2011, overall exposure of animals to antimicrobials increased by 0.7% between 2017 and 2018. It seems that the reduction in use has reached a limit for some antimicrobial classes, and it is important to be vigilant regarding how this trend evolves.

These results are therefore very positive overall but indicate that limits may have been reached for some classes, and indicate that efforts towards the prudent and rational use of antimicrobials in veterinary medicine should continue.