AVMA definitions of antimicrobial use for treatment, control, and prevention

​AVMA believes antimicrobial stewardship can be achieved whether the intent is prevention, control, or treatment, and attempts to prioritize antimicrobial stewardship by therapeutic purpose are misguided. Stewardship is better demonstrated by the clinical rationale for antimicrobial therapy. We provide the following definitions for treatment, prevention, and control in the context of antimicrobial use in individual animals or populations of animals.

Antimicrobial prevention of disease (synonym: prophylaxis):
1) Prevention is the administration of an antimicrobial to an individual animal to mitigate the risk for acquiring disease or infection that is anticipated based on history, clinical judgement, or epidemiological knowledge.
2) On a population basis, prevention is the administration of an antimicrobial to a group of animals, none of which have evidence of disease or infection, when transmission of existing undiagnosed infections, or the introduction of pathogens, is anticipated based on history, clinical judgement or epidemiological knowledge.

Antimicrobial control of disease (synonym: metaphylaxis):
1) Control is the administration of an antimicrobial to an individual animal with a subclinical infection to reduce the risk of the infection becoming clinically apparent, spreading to other tissues or organs, or being transmitted to other individuals.
2) On a population basis, control is the use of antimicrobials to reduce the incidence of infectious disease in a group of animals that already has some individuals with evidence of infectious disease or evidence of infection.

Antimicrobial treatment of disease:
1) Treatment is the administration of an antimicrobial as a remedy for an individual animal with evidence of infectious disease.
2) On a population basis, treatment is the administration of an antimicrobial to those animals within the group with evidence of infectious disease.