Study finds alarming levels of antimicrobial resistance in poultry environment, ET HealthWorld



NEW DELHI: A new study has found high levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in poultry farm environments in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, raising serious concerns about its impact on human health. Researchers from the NGOs Toxics Link and World Animal Protection collected 14 chicken manure and groundwater samples from six poultry farms for the study.

Eleven of these samples showed the surprising presence of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) for 15 important antibiotics, including glycopeptides, carbapenems, and macrolides.

Research conducted by Toxics Link found that antibiotics are used indiscriminately by poultry farmers due to a general lack of awareness and understanding of the possible consequences.

Despite the Bureau of Indian Standards recommending against the use of antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs) in poultry feed, these continue to be available in the market and used by poultry farmers.

Colistin, an antibiotic of last resort to treat multidrug-resistant infections, was banned for use in food animals by the Federal Ministry of Health in 2019, but is still sold through online platforms.

ARGs are genetic promoters of AMR that cause bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites to become unresponsive to antibiotics. Although naturally occurring, ARGs in the environment have increased in recent years due to anthropogenic activities, leading to overuse and misuse of antimicrobials in various fields.

As a result, diseases such as pneumonia, gonorrhea, postoperative infections, HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria are becoming increasingly untreatable.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant diseases, including more than 200,000 from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

India accounts for 3% of the global consumption of antimicrobials in food animals and has one of the highest antimicrobial utilization ratios (AMUs) in the livestock sector. As the country ramps up livestock production to address food insecurity, there are growing concerns that the poultry sector is emerging as a new hotspot for antimicrobial resistance.

AMR can be spread through a variety of routes, including contact with animals, their products, and contaminated food, increasing the risk of infection for veterinarians, farmers, and food handlers.

Even waste from poultry farms, such as agricultural fertilizers and litter used as aquaculture feed, can cause the spread of AMR across a variety of sectors.

Gajendra Sharma of the World Animal Welfare Organization said: “Poor animal husbandry practices, particularly in poultry farming, have contributed significantly to the overuse of antibiotics. Farmers often administer antibiotics for prevention or treatment of disease. “This results in high levels of antibiotic residues in both food and waste.”

“Addressing the root causes of antibiotic misuse in the livestock sector, particularly poultry, is critical to managing and mitigating AMR. “Now is the time to act to protect the health and well-being of animals, humans and the planet.”

In 2015, the World Health Assembly called for antimicrobial resistance to optimize antimicrobial use, raise awareness, reduce the incidence of infectious diseases, and build sustainable practices in line with reducing overall antimicrobial use. adopted a global action plan on

As a result, India also developed its own action plan on AMR in 2017, emphasizing the creation of a surveillance network to control antibiotic use across sectors.

According to Vijay Pal Singh, Chief Technical Officer, CSIR-IGIB, halting this AMR trend requires working closely with all stakeholders to develop sound protocols and control measures. states that there is.

Satish Sinha, Associate Director, Tokix Link, said India is highly vulnerable to AMR-related risks and needs to reconsider the implementation of the National Action Plan.

He said the country has built a robust surveillance and surveillance system to identify potential hotspots and limit overuse of antibiotics in all sectors, and introduced environmentally friendly waste and wastewater management practices. said it is necessary to do so.

  • Published May 9, 2024 4:42 PM IST

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