Broiler companies participated voluntarily and represented a large percentage of the overall U.S. broiler chicken production

  • The antimicrobial use datasets represent more than 80% of broiler chicken produced annually, based on USDA:National Agricultural Statistics Service published numbers
  • The antimicrobial use data that were submitted for 2021 include information on approximately 8,250,000,000 chicks placed, 7,800,000,000 chickens slaughtered, and 50,550,000,000 pounds liveweight produced

Several key diseases were targeted by antimicrobial administration

  • Necrotic enteritis, a clostridial disease of chickens, remains one of the most important diseases of chickens that requires antimicrobial therapy
  • Colibacillosis, a broad category of  colidiseases that affect chickens, results in much of the antimicrobial use in feed and water. Many of the respiratory diseases affecting chickens are caused by E. coli
  • Clostridial dermatitis, another clostridial disease, necessitates a considerable fraction of the overall antimicrobial use in chicken production

Antimicrobial use by all routes decreased substantially between 2013 and 2021

Hatchery Antimicrobials

    • The approximate percentage of broiler chicks placed that received hatchery antimicrobials decreased from 90% in 2013 to 0% in 2021
    • Hatchery gentamicin use in broiler chicks decreased approximately 71% between 2013 and 2017 and then went to 0% in 2020

In-Feed Antimicrobials

    • In-feed virginiamycin use decreased approximately 97% between 2013 and 2021
    • In-feed tetracycline use decreased approximately 96% between 2013 and 2017 and then went to 0% in 2021

Water-Soluble Antimicrobials

    • Medically important water-soluble antibiotic use in broiler chickens decreased substantially 2013-2017 and then stabilized or decreased slightly 2017-2021
      • Water-soluble penicillin use decreased by more than 75% from peak in 2015
      • Water-soluble tetracycline use decreased by more than 92% since 2013
      • Water-soluble lincomycin use decreased by more than 82% from peak in 2015
      • Water-soluble sulfonamide use decreased by 98% since 2013
      • Water-soluble tylosin use decreased approximately 95% since 2013

There was a shift to greater use of antimicrobial drugs that are not medically-important

  • In-feed and water-soluble bacitracin remained a commonly-used antimicrobial drug for the prevention and treatment of necrotic enteritis
  • In-feed avilamycin use increased, as it is a not medically important antimicrobial drug for the prevention of necrotic enteritis

There were substantial reductions in the use of most medically important antimicrobials in broiler production, regardless of route of administration

  • While a reduction in antimicrobial use may be an important indicator of improved stewardship, reducing the need for antimicrobials through improved disease prevention should be considered a more holistic indicator of overall flock health and optimal antimicrobial use

This project is funded via a multi-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U01FD005878) and multiple annual grants from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. The project could not have been such a success without the support and voluntary participation of the FDA, USDA-APHIS, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers as well as layer, broiler chicken and turkey companies of the U.S.

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