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Impact of the Suissano Health Programme on antimicrobial usage on 291 pig farms in Switzerland
  1. Thomas Echtermann1,
  2. Cedric Müntener2,
  3. Xaver Sidler1 and
  4. Dolf Kümmerlen1
  1. 1Division of Swine Medicine, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  2. 2Institute for Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology, Vetsuisse-Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dolf Kümmerlen; dkuemmerlen{at}


Background In 2015, in Switzerland the Suissano Health Programme was implemented in pig production to improve transparency for antimicrobial usage (AMU) and to reduce the usage of fluoroquinolones (FQ), macrolides and cephalosporins, representing highest priority critically important antimicrobials.

Methods In the presented cohort study, the impact of the Suissano programme on the AMU of 291 pig farms between 2016 and 2017 was investigated. AMU was calculated in total numbers of defined course doses (nDCDch) for all farms in the programme. For each single farm the nDCDch/animal/year was determined for four different age categories (suckling piglets, weaned piglets, fattening pigs, sows) as well as each antimicrobial substance separately. Trends between 2016 and 2017 were investigated for all farms as well as the 25 per cent with the highest usage of antimicrobials (high users) separately.

Results Total AMU measured in nDCDch declined by 23 per cent between 2016 and 2017, but statistically significant differences could not be observed when comparing the data sets of the individual farms. A significantly reduced usage of FQ could be demonstrated in suckling piglets (P=0.003), weaned piglets (P=0.006) and sows (P=0.008) in 2017 compared with 2016. For high users, a significant reduction of total AMU could be shown in suckling piglets (P=0.02), weaned piglets (P=0.0004) and fattening pigs (P=0.01).

Conclusion This study demonstrated a significant reduction in the usage of FQs in suckling piglets, weaned piglets and sows as well as total AMU in suckling piglets, weaned piglets and fattening pigs on high-usage farms.

  • pigs
  • antimicrobial usage
  • HPCIAs
  • frequent users
  • Suissano

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  • Contributors TE and DK summarised and analysed the data. CM, XS and DK contributed to the design of the study and supervised the analyses. TE drafted the manuscript. TE and DK worked on the revisions.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available from the authors upon reasonable request. Please send an email to

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