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Abuse of antibiotics in poultry threatens Indian community’s health


Again, the need for poultry and livestock farmers to refrain from abnormal use of antibiotics has been reiterated as health of farmers and members of a community called Muvattupuzha in India is endangered following the abuse in poultry production.

A study on the antimicrobial resistance of pathogens in the poultry production environment and developing the same among humans has revealed that the bacterial infections among the people residing in the area were caused by similar drug-resistant Escherichia coli (E-coli).

The abuse of antibiotics in chicken and egg production as growth booster and preventive treatment has made an impact in the community by making them resistant to certain common antibiotics, including ampicillin, amoxicillin, amikacin and ofloxacin, the study said.


Entitled ‘Antibiotic Resistance in Escherichia-coli Isolates from Poultry Environment and UTI Patients in Kerala,’ the study was published in ‘Elsevier’ Medical Journal in January this year.

The research was conducted by Stevlin Sebastian, Antriya Annie Tom, Joyal Anna Babu and Merin Joshy of Nirmala College of Pharmacy, Muvattupuzha.

Two poultry farms each from six areas in the Muvattupuzha region in Ernakulam were selected for the study. Samples of fecal matter, litter from inside and outside the shed and nearby agricultural soil were collected. The samples tested found that E-coli was resistant to antibiotics, including ampicillin, amoxicillin, meropenem and tetracycline.

Two broiler poultry farms at a distance of three kilometres away from each other were selected in the region. As many as 60 samples were clustered for study.

“Similar antibiotic resistance pattern was seen in the samples of around 150 patients with urinary tract infection (UTI) collected from hospitals in the nearby regions. Due to this, even infants are born with this resistance which is not a good sign,” said Stevlin.

E-coli is a diverse group of bacteria that include intestinal pathogenic E-coli, which can be a source for gastrointestinal infections and extra-intestinal pathogenic E-coli, which can cause infections outside the gastrointestinal system.

In poultry, E-coli bacteria can cause colibacillosis disease, among others, that account for high morbidity and mortality.


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