Decline in antibiotic consumption and resistance in animals in Norway

The annual NORM-VET report shows continued decline in antibiotic consumption, and that preventive measures to reduce occurrence of antimicrobial resistance have been effective.

Regarding consumption of antibiotics, the usage (sales) of veterinary antibiotics for use in food-producing terrestrial animals in Norway declined 17 % from 2013-2018. For veterinary antibiotics approved for dogs and/or cats only, a decrease of 34% is observed in the same period.

The use of antibiotics in farmed fish remains very low and this is primarily due to access to efficient vaccines against the major bacterial diseases and complete vaccination coverage of fingerlings.

The NORM-VET report shows that narasin as coccidiostat feed additives was phased out by the broiler industry mid-2016, without any increase in the number of flocks treated with antibiotics since then.

Substantial decrease in positive samples from broiler flocks and broiler meat

The 2018 NORM-VET surveillance confirm that antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from animals and food in Norway is low compared to other countries. There has been a substantial decrease of E. coli resistant to third generation cephalosporins in broiler flocks and meat thereof compared to previous years. In 2018, only 0.4% of the samples from broiler flocks and meat thereof were positive, while more than 40% of the flocks were positive back in 2011. This decrease has been possible due to measures taken by the industry. These measures included among others requirement that the exporter/importer of breeding flocks has not used antibiotics routinely in the production, as well as monitoring of imported breeding material. There has also been an increased focus on biosecurity and hygiene practices to prevent infection between flocks.

A substantial decrease was also detected for the occurrence of vancomycin resistant Enterococcus spp. (VRE) with none of the broiler and turkey flocks being positive in 2018. This decline in occurrence coincides in time with the introduction of measures towards resistance to third generation cephalosporins, and it is possible that the increased focus on hygiene may have contributed to this decline.  

Low occurrence of MRSA

Norway has implemented a comprehensive and continuous surveillance program of methicillin resistant Staphylocccus aureus (MRSA) in the swine population. The objective of the surveillance is to identify livestock associated (LA) -MRSA positive swine herds with the intention of eradication, with an overall goal of keeping the Norwegian pig population free of LA-MRSA. In 2018, none of the investigated 716 herds were positive for MRSA. A survey of MRSA in sheep was also conducted. MRSA was detected in only one of the herds (0.4%).

Contact persons

  • Antibiotic consumption: Kari Grave
  • NORM-VET/Antimicrobial resistance: Anne Margrete Urdahl


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