Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mismanagement in Poultry Farms a threat for antibiotic resistance in India

Contributed by: Siddarth D & Dr. Tamhankar

A recent report, has shown that antibiotics are being indiscriminately used in some of India's poultry farms that supply to commercial outlets like Suguna Chicken, McDonalds and KFC in the country. The report uncovered that in the state of Telangana, poultry framers were using antibiotics on chickens without any set instructions. Interviews with farmers indicated that antibiotics, permitted only for veterinary use in India, were often viewed as vitamins and supplements by the farm owners and given to chickens. Poultry farmers were using levofloxacin, ciprofloxacin and gentamicin as regular medicines for the poultry without being aware of the consequences of using them. 

This alarming finding, reinforces the findings of study conducted by the Centre for Science and Education (CSE), New Delhi which found that nearly 40 per cent of poultry being sold in Delhi had high levels of antibiotics like ciprofloxacin.  S.K. Dutta, assistant commissioner of the department of animal husbandry in the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare reacted to the report by saying that antibiotic use in animals was a critical area that has yet to be dealt with by policy, leaving many farmers to use them without prescriptions from their chemists. He stated that new measures would be introduced to address this problem.

Without clear policy guidelines in the country, India has yet to regulate the use of antibiotics in animals, which therefore remains unchecked and under studied. This report should be a waking call for health policy makers and experts that while there has been considerable work done on controlling antibiotic use in humans, neglecting use in animals can be serious obstacle in the battle against antibiotic resistance.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Basics can slow antibiotic resistance more effectively

Contributed by: Siddarth David & Dr. Tamhankar

The latest report from the Review of Antimicrobial Resistance a two-year effort created by Prime Minister David Cameron, supported by the Wellcome Trust to examine solutions to the rise of resistance, have highlighted that basic hygiene and improved sanitation can be a very effective tool in the process. It has indicated how the lack of clean water and sanitation both create diseases that demand antibiotic use, and also spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The report highlighted that in just four emerging economies (India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Brazil), 494 million cases of diarrhoea each year are treated with antibiotics, a number that could rise to 622 million cases by 2030. If infrastructure were improved, 60 percent of those courses of antibiotics could be foregone. The report says that contaminated water also allows bacteria to cycle between humans and the environment, spinning up the dissemination of resistance genes. 

The Review also found that persistent neglect of simple tasks such as washing hands is fuelling the spread of resistance. As few as 30 to 40 % of hospital staff wash their hands as often as they should and interestingly doctors perform poorer than nurses or staff who are lower in the hierarchy. 

This shows that addressing the issue of antibiotic resistance is a multi-pronged approach and neglecting basic public health issues like clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene practice can play major role in reducing antibiotic use and therefore resistance. We need India need to also deal with the these public health issues in the efforts to curb antibiotic resistance.