Computional algorithm for lifetime exposure to antimicrobials in pigs using register data − the LEA algorithm

Anna Camilla Birkegård, Vibe Dalhoff Andersen, Tariq Hisham Beshara Halasa, Vibeke Frøkjær Jensen, Nils Toft, Håkan Vigre

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Accurate and detailed data on antimicrobial exposure in pig production are essential when studying the association between antimicrobial exposure and antimicrobial resistance. Due to difficulties in obtaining primary data on antimicrobial exposure in a large number of farms, there is a need for a robust and valid method to estimate the exposure using register data. An approach that estimates the antimicrobial exposure in every rearing period during the lifetime of a pig using register data was developed into a computational algorithm. In this approach data from national registers on antimicrobial purchases, movements of pigs and farm demographics registered at farm level are used. The algorithm traces batches of pigs retrospectively from slaughter to the farm(s) that housed the pigs during their finisher, weaner, and piglet period. Subsequently, the algorithm estimates the antimicrobial exposure as the number of Animal Defined Daily Doses for treatment of one kg pig in each of the rearing periods. Thus, the antimicrobial purchase data at farm level are translated into antimicrobial exposure estimates at batch level. A batch of pigs is defined here as pigs sent to slaughter at the same day from the same farm.In this study we present, validate, and optimise a computational algorithm that calculate the lifetime exposure of antimicrobials for slaughter pigs. The algorithm was evaluated by comparing the computed estimates to data on antimicrobial usage from farm records in 15 farm units. We found a good positive correlation between the two estimates. The algorithm was run for Danish slaughter pigs sent to slaughter in January to March 2015 from farms with more than 200 finishers to estimate the proportion of farms that it was applicable for. In the final process, the algorithm was successfully run for batches of pigs originating from 3,026 farms with finisher units (77% of the initial population). This number can be increased if more accurate register data can be obtained. The algorithm provides a systematic and repeatable approach to estimating the antimicrobial exposure throughout the rearing period, independent of rearing site for finisher batches, as a lifetime exposure measurement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Pages (from-to)173-180
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Antimicrobial data
  • Pig population
  • Algorithm
  • Movement pattern


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