Threat of antibiotic resistance real, said public health experts
Government has an action plan which needs to be implemented, says CSE
Large-scale use of antibiotics in farms for growth-promotion and disease prevention of animals is growing and is dangerous, said experts
November 3, 2015 New Delhi: In a meeting organized by Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on antibiotic resistance with a focus on irrational use of antibiotics in food animal industry, strong concerns were raised on growing threat of antibiotic resistance which is leading to difficulty in treating common bacterial infections as well as post-surgery infections.
Key scientists from government and private sector, medical doctors - neonatologists, gastroenterologists, urologist, microbiologists and pharmacologist, veterinarians and those from public health and environmental field participated in the meeting.
Issues related to large-scale use of antibiotics in animal farm industry for growth promotion and disease prevention and how the overall consumption of antibiotics in India is growing were discussed. Experts discussed gaps in India’s regulatory approach and preparedness to handle the looming public health crisis.
“The concern of drug resistance is uppermost. We need to preserve the existing antibiotics since we cannot afford the new expensive molecules whenever they come. It is more relevant for us than other nations to preserve the current antibiotics. The irrational use of antibiotics in human and animal use is going to put us in a huge quandary, and human health in particular is at stake,” said Dr Chand Wattal, Senior Consultant, Department of Microbiology at Ganga Ram Hospital Delhi.
Recognising the practice of non-therapeutic use by poultry farmers, Prof. N K Mahajan of Lala Lajpat Rai University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Hisar said, “Judicious use of antibiotics will be in the interest of poultry farmers because they themselves are facing the problem. They keep on complaining that antibiotics are not working and keep on using more and more antibiotics. Farmers are unaware and need to be educated on biosecurity measures. Use of antibiotics in feed can be regulated through the Drug control department”
Managing farm waste is important in containing resistance. G Suryanarayan, an expert in the field of environment management of poultry farms, said, “Central Pollution Control Board should notify guidelines on environment management of poultry farms as early as possible.”
Emphasizing on how resistant bacteria can possibly change the disease in neonates (new born babies) and affect them for the rest their lives. Dr Neelam Kler, Senior Consultant, Neonatology, at Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi said, “We are changing the whole microbiota by irrational use of antibiotics. Children are born with resistance to certain antibiotics. This not only affects the treatment of infectious diseases but is also now being linked to other types of non-communicable diseases like obesity in the later part of their lives”.
Said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General of CSE, “We have a broad consensus on what we need to do to reduce the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals. This has been discussed for the past many years. There is an action plan with the government. We need this to be implemented.” In 2010, CSE had done study on antibiotic residues in honey and in 2014 it has tested chicken meat for antibiotics.
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