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Studies have demonstrated the link between antimicrobial consumption and the development of antimicrobial resistance. Surveillance of antimicrobial consumption is an action point of the European Commission’s ‘One Health Action Plan Against Antimicrobial Resistance’.


This study aims to compare two methodologies for antibiotic consumption surveillance, investigate the 14-year evolution of antibiotic consumption in Belgian acute care hospitals and discuss future perspectives.


We compared self-reported data (old methodology) and reimbursement data (new methodology) of national antibiotic consumption surveillance in hospitals. Descriptive analyses were performed on the reimbursement data collected per year and per trimester (2003–2016), per hospital and per unit. Antibiotic consumption was compared with European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Network (ESAC-Net) results.


The median differences for defined daily doses (DDDs)/1,000 patient days and DDDs/1,000 admissions were 3.09% and 3.94% when comparing the old vs new methodology. Based on reimbursement data, the median antibiotic consumption in 2016 in 102 Belgian acute care hospitals was 577.1 DDDs/1,000 patient days and 3,890.3 DDDs/1,000 admissions with high variation between hospitals (interquartile ranges (IQR): 511.3–655.0 and 3,450.0–4,400.5, respectively), and similar to 2015. Based on DDDs/1,000 patient days, the magnitude of consumption is comparable with the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden, but is higher when based on DDDs/1,000 admissions.


Antibiotic consumption in Belgian acute care hospitals has remained overall stable over time. However, the high variation across hospitals should be further investigated. This surveillance data could be used for benchmarking and assessing interventions to improve antibiotic consumption in these hospitals.


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