Persistent Spatial Clusters of Prescribed Antimicrobials among Danish Pig Farms - A Register-Based Study

Mette Ely Fertner, Javier Sanchez, Anette Boklund, Henrik Stryhn, Nana Dupont, Nils Toft

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The emergence of pathogens resistant to antimicrobials has prompted political initiatives targeting a reduction in the use of veterinary antimicrobials in Denmark, especially for pigs. This study elucidates the tendency of pig farms with a significantly higher antimicrobial use to remain in clusters in certain geographical regions of Denmark. Animal Daily Doses/100 pigs/day were calculated for all three age groups of pigs (weaners, finishers and sows) for each quarter during 2012-13 in 6,143 commercial indoor pig producing farms. The data were split into four time periods of six months. Repeated spatial cluster analyses were performed to identify persistent clusters, i.e. areas included in a significant cluster throughout all four time periods. Antimicrobials prescribed for weaners did not result in any persistent clusters. In contrast, antimicrobial use in finishers clustered persistently in two areas (157 farms), while those issued for sows clustered in one area (51 farms). A multivariate analysis including data on antimicrobial use for weaners, finishers and sows as three separate outcomes resulted in three persistent clusters (551 farms). Compared to farms outside the clusters during this period, weaners, finishers and sows on farms within these clusters had 19%, 104% and 4% higher use of antimicrobials, respectively. Production type, farm type and farm size seemed to have some bearing on the clustering effect. Adding these factors as categorical covariates one at a time in the multivariate analysis reduced the persistent clusters by 24.3%, 30.5% and 34.1%, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0136834
JournalP L o S One
Issue number8
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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