Antibiotic resistance is frequently linked to the use — and perceived overuse — of antibiotics in livestock. However, a new Swedish study tells a much different story.
According to a report by Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute (SVA), antibiotic consumption by humans in Sweden totaled 60.5 tons of antibiotics in 2014, compared to 10.2 tons consumed in veterinary medicine, including not only livestock animals, but also horses, dogs and cats. These figures include the beta-lactam antibiotics penicillins and cephlasporins as well as fluoroquinolones, sulphonamides and tetracyclines, the report states.
Not only is total usage higher for humans but they also use more than seven times the amount of active ingredient (96.4 mg active substance per estimated kg biomass in humans and 12.7 mg active substance per estimated kg biomass in veterinary medicine.) The largest difference in consumption between humans and animals was fluoroquinolones, with humans consuming 83 times more of this antibiotic class than animals.