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Antibiotics abuse in poultry comes home to roost on plate

  • 24 Jun, 2023
  • India

HYDERABAD: Doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to treat simple stomach upset cases, which would otherwise heal with a couple of antibiotic doses, due to growing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Digestive issues are currently on the rise and it's just not stomach ailments, which are taking longer to treat with stronger antibiotics. Even infections of the lung and kidney need protracted treatment. "But the origin lies somewhere else. Liberal antibiotic use in poultry, aquaculture and livestock is the trigger," say experts.

Though patients suffering from food-poisoning would be given basic antibiotics like fluoroquinolone or ciprofloxacin, the bacteria causing the ailment has already developed resistance to antibiotics.

"As a result, a higher line of antibiotics must be used. We are seeing a spurt in such cases and overuse of antibiotics in poultry industry is the reason, not just in cases of severe gastritis but even in lung infections," said Dr M Rajeev, consultant pulmonologist.

Apart from entering the food chain (improper or unhygienic storage of food or water) in agricultural fields, AMR is quickly on the rise due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics in the veterinary sector.

"When it comes to poultry, livestock and aquaculture, antibiotics are predominantly being used as a preventive measure. Since the breeders and poultry farms don't want to take all biosecurity measures (which are costlier), they use antibiotics to prevent infections in animals. That way they can have the maximum healthy produce of animals or aquaculture," Dr Burri Ranga Reddy, president, infection Control Academy of India.

"Also, antibiotics are used as growth promoters for the same reason, both of which mean animals develop a strong AMR and once the micro-organism enters the human body, it becomes difficult to tackle," he added.

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