Animal growth promoters: to ban or not to ban? A risk assessment approach

L.A. Kelly, D.L. Smith, E.L. Snary, J.A. Johnson, A.D. Harris, M. Wooldridge, J.G. Morris

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The use of antibiotics for animal growth promotion has been controversial because of the potential transfer of antibiotic resistance from animals to humans. Such transfer could have severe public health implications in that treatment failures could result. We have followed a risk assessment approach to evaluate policy options for the streptogramin-class of antibiotics: virginiamycin, an animal growth promoter, and quinupristin/dalfopristin, a antibiotic used in humans. Under the assumption that resistance transfer is possible, models project a wide range of outcomes depending mainly on the basic reproductive number (R0) that determines the potential for person-to-person transmission. Counter-intuitively, the benefits of a ban on virginiamycin were highest for intermediate values of R0, and lower for extremely high or low values of R0.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Antimicrobial Agents
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • animal growth
  • streptogramin resistance
  • risk assessment
  • biology
  • antibiotics
  • modelling
  • statistics

Cite this

Kelly, L. A., Smith, D. L., Snary, E. L., Johnson, J. A., Harris, A. D., Wooldridge, M., & Morris, J. G. (2004). Animal growth promoters: to ban or not to ban? A risk assessment approach. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, 24(3), 205-212.