Original Research

A survey of antimicrobial usage in animals in South Africa with specific reference to food animals

Hayley Eagar, Gerry Swan, Moritz van Vuuren
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 83, No 1 | a16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v83i1.16 | © 2012 Hayley Eagar, Gerry Swan, Moritz van Vuuren | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 March 2012 | Published: 01 August 2012

About the author(s)

Hayley Eagar, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Gerry Swan, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria South Africa, South Africa
Moritz van Vuuren, Department of Veterinary Tropical Diseases, University of Pretoria South Africa, South Africa

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The purpose of this study was to set a benchmark for a monitoring and surveillance programme on the volumes of antimicrobials available and consumed by animals for the benefit of animal health in South Africa. This survey was collated from data available from 2002 to 2004. The authorised antimicrobials available in South Africa were firstly reviewed. The majority of available antimicrobials were registered under the Stock Remedies Act 36 1947. Secondly, volumes of antimicrobials consumed were then surveyed and it was found that the majority of consumed antimicrobials were from the macrolide and pleuromutilin classes, followed by the tetracycline class, the sulphonamide class and lastly the penicillin class.

Results showed that 68.5% of the antimicrobials surveyed were administered as in-feed medications. 17.5% of the total volume of antimicrobials utilised were parenteral antimicrobials, whereas antimicrobials for water medication constituted 12% of the total and ’other‘ dosage forms, for example the topical and aural dosage forms, constituted 1.5% of the total. Intramammary antimicrobials represented 0.04% of the total. The surveillance systems for veterinary antimicrobials used by other countries were scrutinised and compared. It was concluded that a combination of the surveillance systems applied by Australia and the United Kingdom is the best model (with modifications) to apply to the animal health industry in South Africa. Such a surveillance system, of the volumes of veterinary antimicrobials consumed, should ideally be implemented in conjunction with a veterinary antimicrobial resistance surveillance and monitoring programme. This will generate meaningful data that will contribute to the rational administration of antimicrobials in order to preserve the efficacy of the existing antimicrobials in South Africa.


Antimicrobial resistance; in-feed; monitoring; rational use; surveillance programmes


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