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Farm Animal Practice
Problems of antibiotic resistance in pigs in the UK
  1. David Burch

    David Burch qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in 1972. After two years as houseman and five years in practice, he developed an interest in pig and poultry production and medicine, and joined the pharmaceutical industry. He worked on the development of the antibiotic tiamulin for pigs and poultry during the 1980s, and valnemulin, the first EU-approved medicated feed premix, during the 1990s. He now runs a consultancy company, Octagon Services, and is involved mainly in antimicrobial development and registration. He is currently junior vicepresident of the Pig Veterinary Society and produces its biannual publication The Pig Journal.


THE fact that large quantities of antimicrobials are used in pig production in the UK has led to the assumption that antimicrobial resistance must be posing major problems. This, in turn, raises a number of pertinent questions. For example, do veterinary practitioners feel that resistance is compromising the successful treatment of their patients? Are antimicrobials overused in pigs or are they not used prudently? Finally, does antimicrobial use in pigs have an adverse effect on humans, either directly from the transmission of resistant zoonotic pathogens or indirectly through the transmission of antimicrobial resistance via commensal organisms? This article reviews recent data on antimicrobial usage and resistance problems in pigs, with a view to shedding light on these questions and related issues.

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