Pork production and antimicrobials – antimicrobial resistance and its financial effects


The goal of the project is to produce information on the antimicrobial resistance of E. coli and campylobacter isolated from pigs and on factors affecting it and to understand resistance mechanisms. It is also a goal to clarify the cost effects of infectious diseases in pigs and their medical treatment. In the project farm specific information is gathered on the antimicrobials used in pig production.

The detailed goals of the project are to clarify:

  • How the E. coli bacteria and campylobacter causing enteritis develop antimicrobial resistance during treatment.
  • How the resistance is retained in the microbial strains.
  • What the significance is of the indicator bacteria as storage for resistant genes.
  • How well the resistance of the indicator bacteria describes the selective pressure caused by the antimicrobials.
  • Underlying mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Are there so-called ESBL producers in Finnish pigs.
  • How the virulence and resistance factors of bacteria causing enteritis are connected.


The project started in June 2007. Five pig farms have so far been selected for the study. Samples have been collected where possible also from medicated animals in order to study the development of resistance. E. coli bacteria have been isolated from about 92 % of the analysed samples. The incidence of campylobacter has varied greatly from one pig farm to the next; it has been possible to isolate campylobacter from 58 % of the samples on average. Based on the preliminary results, with both E. coli bacteria and campylobacter there are clear differences between the farms as to sensitivity towards antimicrobials.


E. coli, campylobacter, pig, antimicrobials, resistance, resistance mechanisms

Responsible project leader:

Myllyniemi, Anna-Liisa, Senior Researcher, Evira, Microbiology Research Unit

Person at Evira responsible for the project:

Myllyniemi, Anna-Liisa, Senior Researcher, Microbiology Research Unit

In cooperation with:

University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Food and Environmental Hygiene (analysis of samples, collecting medicinal data, analysing campylobacter samples, analysis of the results and reporting the results);
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the Saari Unit (expertise on infectious diseases in pigs, sampling, collecting medicinal information);
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Economics and Management (calculation model for the assessment of cost effects);
Evira, Pathology Research Unit and Kuopio Research Unit (expertise on infectious diseases in pigs, Kuopio Research Unit also study of virulence factors);
SVA, Sweden (cooperation on the molecular biological research on antimicrobial resistance of C. coli bacteria);
Association for Animal Disease Prevention in Finland (expert knowledge on infectious diseases in pigs)

Project status:


Year of commencement:


Year of completion:



Scientific conference publications

Juntunen, P., Heiska, H., Myllyniemi, A. L. and Hänninen, M. L. 2008. Treatment of pigs with tylosin selected erythromycin, ciprofloxacin and streptomycin resistance in Campylobacter coli strains. Antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria and foodborne pathogens. Copenhagen, Denmark, 15-18 June 2008.
Juntunen P., Heiska H., Myllyniemi A.L., Hänninen M.L. 2009. Selection and persistence of erythromycin-resistant Campylobacter coli strains at a pig farm during and after tylosin treatment. 19th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Helsinki, Finland, 16 - 19 May 2009.

Project is financed by:

Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (financing decision number Dnro 4491/502/2006)

Evira’s project code:


Page last updated 10/18/2018