Indian poultry farms are breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant pathogens, study finds

Use of antibiotics for promoting growth in farm animals has seen an upward trend within few years owing to the rising demand for food animal products.
indian poultry farms antibiotic resistance
Written by: India TV Lifestyle Desk New Delhi July 20, 2017 13:33 IST

High levels of antibiotic-resistant pathogens found in chickens raised for meat and eggs in Indian farms. This poses some serious health concerns for human according to a team of researchers. 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. It found high levels of antibiotic-resistance on poultry farms in Punjab. It can poses serious threat, not only to India but for world as well. 

Overusing antibiotics in animal farms can threaten the lives of all, believes study author and CDDEP Director Ramanan Laxminarayan. The antibiotics must be removed from human food chain except for treating sick animals or else we’re going to face increasingly real prospect of a post-antibiotic world. 

Also Read: How too many antibiotics can cause antibiotic resistance?


Earlier CDDEP studies have established the fact that antibiotic consumption in food animal production will increase globally by 67% by 2030, more than triple in India. For the new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives on Thursday, researchers collected samples from 530 birds on 18 poultry farms and tested them for resistance to a range of antibiotic medicines critical to human medicine. 

2/3rd of the farms were using antibiotic factors for growth promotion. Samples from these farms were thrice as likely to be multidrug-resistant than samples from the farms which did not use antibiotics. 

Also Read: India's addiction to antibiotics can be catastrophic


Although the researchers found reservoirs of resistance across both types of farms, 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, cellulitis and respiratory tract infections, and other infections, to 86 percent for nalidixic acid, a common treatment for urinary tract infections.

Further tests revealed that the presence of certain enzymes that give drug resistance to medications used, for example to treat E. Coli, bacterial pneumonia and other such infections. Nearly 60% of E. coli isolates studied contained these enzymes. Use of antibiotics for promoting growth in farm animals has seen an upward trend within few years owing to the rising demand for food animal products. 

(With IANS Inputs)

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