Potential impacts of antibiotic use in poultry production

Singer RS, Hofacre CL
Avian Diseases 50:161-172

The ways in which antibiotics are used in poultry production have changed considerably during the past decade, mainly because of concerns about potential negative human health consequences caused by these uses. Human health improvements directly attributable to these antibiotic-use changes are difficult to demonstrate. Given that some antibiotics will continue to be used in the poultry industry, methods are needed for estimating the causal relationship between these antibiotic uses and actual animal and human health impacts. This is a challenging task because of the numerous factors that are able to select for the emergence, dissemination, and persistence of antibiotic resistance. Managing the potential impacts of antibiotic use in poultry requires more than a simple estimation of the risks that can be attributed to the use of antibiotics in poultry. Risk models and empirical studies that evaluate interventions that are capable of minimizing the negative consequences associated with specific antibiotic uses are desperately needed.