Worldwide, the number of bacteria resistant to antibiotics is increasing. In the Netherlands, this number generally remains stable and is less high than in many other countries. In 2019, hardly any increases in resistance were found. Resistance to certain types of bacteria has even decreased slightly compared to previous years. In the annual NethMap/MARAN 2019 report, various organisations collectively present the data on antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance in the Netherlands, for humans as well as animals.

The number of bacteria that are resistant to several different antibiotics at the same time, and therefore more difficult to treat, is not increasing either. However, there is always reason for vigilance to ensure that changes can be noticed in time.

Correct usage

It is crucial to use antibiotics appropriately and only when necessary. General practitioners prescribed slightly fewer courses of antibiotics than in previous years. The overall use of antibiotics in hospitals still shows a slight increase.

Antibiotics usage and resistance in livestock

Veterinarians prescribed fewer antibiotics in 2019 than in 2018. Compared to 2009, the reference year, sales decreased by almost 70 per cent. For livestock, almost no antibiotics that are important to treat infections in humans have been used in recent years. Compared to 2018, antibiotic resistance in the various animal sectors has remained the same or has decreased slightly. The percentage of ESBL - positive animals has further decreased in all animal sectors. The most significant decrease over the past five years in ESBL-producing intestinal bacteria is seen in broilers and on chicken meat. ESBL are enzymes that can break down commonly used antibiotics such as penicillins.

Research report

These are the results of the NethMap/MARAN 2020 research report. NethMap was established as a result of a collaboration between the SWAB (Dutch Working Party on Antibiotic Policy) and RIVM’s Centre for Infectious Disease Control. MARAN is a partnership of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, RIVM, Utrecht University and the Netherlands Veterinary Medicines Institute.