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Turkey companies participated voluntarily and represented a large percentage of the overall U.S. turkey production

  • The antimicrobial use datasets represent 77% to 82% of turkey produced annually based on the companies included in the published WATT Poultry USA list.
  • The antimicrobial use data that were submitted for 2017 include information on approximately 187,000,000 poults placed, 164,000,000 turkeys slaughtered, and 5,000,000,000 pounds liveweight produced

Several key diseases were targeted by antimicrobial administration

  • Gangrenous dermatitis, a clostridial disease of turkeys, remains one of the most important diseases of turkeys that requires antimicrobial therapy
  • Bacterial enteritis also comprised a considerable fraction of the overall antimicrobial use in turkey production
  • Colibacillosis, a broad category of E. coli diseases that affect turkeys, results in much of the antimicrobial use in feed and water

Antimicrobial use by all routes decreased substantially between 2013 and 2017

Hatchery Antimicrobials

    • The approximate percentage of turkey poults placed that received hatchery antimicrobials decreased from 96% in 2013 to 41% in 2017
    • Hatchery gentamicin use in turkey poults decreased approximately 42% between 2013 and 2017
    • Hatchery ceftiofur use in turkey poults went to zero between 2013 and 2017 for the birds represented in this dataset

In-Feed Antimicrobials

    • In-feed tetracycline use decreased approximately 67% between 2013 and 2017
    • Some approved uses of in-feed antimicrobial drugs were discontinued with implementation of GFI #213
      • There are no remaining approved uses of virginiamycin or in-feed tylosin in turkeys, and thus use of both of these antimicrobial drugs in-feed went to zero in 2017

Water-Soluble Antimicrobials

    • Water-soluble penicillin use decreased approximately 42% between 2013 and 2017
    • Water-soluble tetracycline use decreased approximately 28% between 2013 and 2017
    • Water-soluble lincomycin use decreased approximately 46% between 2013 and 2017
    • Water-soluble neomycin use decreased approximately 49% between 2013 and 2017
    • Water-soluble erythromycin use decreased approximately 65% between 2013 and 2017
    • Water-soluble tylosin use increased approximately 225% between 2013 and 2017
    • Florfenicol use increased more than fivefold between 2013 and 2017

There were substantial reductions in the use of most medically important antimicrobials in turkey 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

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