Quality assessment of systematic reviews and meta-analyses that examine preventive antibiotic uses and management practices designed to prevent disease in livestock
To implement effective stewardship in food animal production, it is essential that producers and veterinarians are aware of preventive interventions to reduce illness in livestock. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses (SR/MA) provide transparent, replicable, and quality-assessed overviews. At present, it is unknown how many SR/MA evaluate preventive antibiotic use or management practices aimed at reducing disease risk in animal agriculture. Further, the quality of existing reviews is unknown. Our aim was to identify reviews investigating these topics and to provide an assessment of their quality. Thirty-eight relevant reviews were identified. Quality assessment was based on the AMSTAR 2 framework for the critical appraisal of systematic reviews. The quality of most of the reviews captured was classified as critically low (84.2%, n = 32/38), and only a small percentage of the evaluated reviews did not contain critical weaknesses (7.9%, n = 3/38). Particularly, a small number of reviews reported the development of an a priori protocol (15.8%, n = 6/38), and few reviews stated that key review steps were conducted in duplicate (study selection/screening: 26.3%, n = 10/38; data extraction: 15.8%, n = 6/38). The development of high-quality reviews summarizing evidence on approaches to antibiotic reduction is essential, and thus greater adherence to quality conduct guidelines for synthesis research is crucial.
This article is published as Vriezen, Rachael, Jan M. Sargeant, Ellen Vriezen, Charlotte B. Winder, and Annette M. O'Connor. "Quality assessment of systematic reviews and meta-analyses that examine preventive antibiotic uses and management practices designed to prevent disease in livestock." Animal Health Research Reviews 20, no. 2 (2019): 305-318. DOI: 10.1017/S146625231900029X. Posted with permission.