K-State collaborates on study of antimicrobial use in food animal industries

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) – Kansas State University and University of Minnesota researchers are collaborating to study the use of antimicrobials in food animal industries.

Kansas State University says researchers from it and the University of Minnesota are working together with the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine and food animal industries in order to evaluate systems for collecting and evaluating antimicrobial use data in food animal production like U.S. beef feedlot, dairy, swine, turkey and chicken production. It said the project is mostly funded by the Center for Veterinary Medicine.

According to K-State, the researchers are also teaming up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health as they work to develop their data systems. It said the results have been published in a special edition of Zoonoses and Public Health, an international journal publishing integrated and global approaches to disease transmission and public health at the corner of human and animal health.

K-State said its team is leading the collaborative research for beef feedlots and dairy. It said its researchers are all connected to its College of Veterinary Medicine: Mike Apley, professor of production medicine; Brian Lubbers, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology; and former graduate students Nora Schrag and Katie Hope, both doctoral graduates in pathobiology.

According to the university, collaborators from the University of Minnesota include Sandra Godden, dairy cattle; Randy Singer, chickens and turkeys; and Peter Davies, swine.

K-State said preserving the ability to use effective antimicrobials in the therapy of disease for humans and animals is the underlying goal for each of the projects. It said to better understand the future of antimicrobial use in animal agriculture, the researchers said sit important to understand current antimicrobial use. It said food animal producers and veterinarians also benefit from knowing how their antimicrobial use compares to that of their peers. It said these goals require systems capable of gathering data from varying record systems and standardizing and reporting the data in a beneficial way.

“One of the key components of antibiotic stewardship is understanding how we are using the antimicrobials in comparison to others,” said Apley, the principal investigator for K-State’s portion of the project. “In our papers, you will find an emphasis on the effect of how we choose to report and evaluate antimicrobial use data, as well as the unique aspects of each food animal production system and how they require different approaches to data collection and analysis.”

According to K-State, the scope of the monitoring in each project is different, from around 90% of the chicken industry, shown in Singers’ data, to convenience samples involving 22 beef feedlots and 29 dairies.

Apley said producers and veterinarians were key to the success of the projects. He said each producer got a confidential benchmark report that compared their antimicrobial use to other participants. It said the reports and papers separate antibiotics by class and present them in relation to the animal populations that the data was collected from.

K-State said the beef feedlot and dairy papers are pilot projects helping to inform the structure of systems designed to describe antibiotic use in a way that supports antibiotic stewardship.

“The projects would not have been possible without our collaborating beef feedlot and dairy producers,” Apley said. “The ability of these producers to combine their own expertise with their veterinarian’s in applying the data to their specific circumstances is a focus of our work. Their feedback on what is useful will shape our future efforts.”

According to K-State, Apley is a member of the Presidential Advisory Council for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which Singer and Davis have both served on as well. It said collecting antimicrobial use data is one of the areas of focus in the most recent council report.

K-State said its researchers and researchers at the University of Minnesota collaborated with the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine and food animal industries to evaluate systems for collecting and evaluating antimicrobial use data in food animal production.

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