The use of antibiotics for quick growth of farm animals is on the rise, but do you know how harmful are these antibiotics?
A recent study has found that excess use of antibiotics for raising poultry chicken for both meat and eggs is likely to give rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria posing threat for spreading to humans.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP), a public health research organisation with headquarters in Washington D.C., and New Delhi, who found high levels of antibiotic-resistance on poultry farms in Punjab.
During the study, samples from 530 birds across 18 poultry farms from around Punjab were taken and tested for resistance to a range of antibiotic medications critical to human medicine.
Two-thirds of the farms reported using antibiotic factors for growth promotion; samples from those farms were three times more likely to be multidrug-resistant than samples from farms that did not use antibiotics to promote growth.
Also the study found that meat farms had twice the rates of antimicrobial resistance that egg-producing farms had, as well as higher rates of multidrug resistance.
The CDDEP researchers found high levels of multi-drug resistance, ranging from 39 per cent for ciprofloxacin, used to treat endocarditis, gastroenteritis, respiratory tract infections, and other infections, to 86 percent for nalidixic acid, a common treatment for urinary tract infections.
Additional testing revealed the presence of certain enzymes that confer drug resistance to medications used, for example, to treat E. coli, bacterial pneumonia, and other infections. Almost 60 per cent of E. coli isolates analysed contained these enzymes.
"This study has serious implications, not only for India but globally. Overuse of antibiotics in animal farms endangers all of us," said study author and CDDEP Director Ramanan Laxminarayan.