Knowledge and practices related to antibiotics among poultry producers and veterinarians in two Indian states

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Antibiotics are frequently utilized in livestock, particularly poultry, for therapy and growth promotion, resulting in antimicrobial resistance.

Multidrug-resistant bacteria are frequent in poultry samples from India.

To better understand antibiotic consumption patterns in poultry value chains in India, as well as antibiotic knowledge and practices among sector stakeholders, a cross-sectional survey was conducted among poultry farmers in the states of Assam and Karnataka.

The findings of the study are published in One Health (March 2024).

The study interviewed 62 farmers were interviewed on antibiotic use, antibiotic knowledge, feeding practices and preventive measures on the farm. Eleven veterinarians, who were involved in treating the farmers’ poultry, were interviewed on knowledge and practices related to antimicrobial use in poultry and antimicrobial resistance.

Item response theory was used to assess the association between the answers and demographic factors.

Most of the poultry farmers had heard about antibiotics, and 62.9% thought they cured all diseases. If one chicken is sick, 72.6% said others should be given antibiotics to prevent the disease from spreading through the flock.

All veterinarians used tetracyclines, aminoglycosides and cephalexin on the poultry farms. Over half (54.5%) said that antibiotics prevent diseases and 72.7% said they treat and prevent diseases. Some (45.5%) said antibiotics boost growth.

Item response theory analysis showed that eight questions assessed a knowledge scale well. Univariable analysis showed that Assam farmers and women were likely to have have more knowledge.

One of the key findings was that the poultry farmers were mostly unaware of the relation between antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance.

Despite being aware, the veterinarians agreed with use antibiotics as a prophylactic measure.

It is vital that these both poultry farmers and veterinarians understand the repercussions of such widespread antibiotic use.

The study therefore calls for increased antibiotic knowledge and awareness among the poultry farmers and regular training of poultry farmers, feed suppliers and veterinarians on responsible use of antibiotics.

This could be achieved through antimicrobial stewardship programs with effective communication and incentives for behaviour change.

Sharma, G., Dey, T., Hazarika, R.A., Shome, B.R., Shome, R., Singh, V.P., Deka, R.P., Grace, D. and Lindahl, J.F. 2024. Knowledge and practices related to antibiotics among poultry producers and veterinarians in two Indian states. One Health 100700.

Photo credit: Chickens in Ganeshguru livestock market, Guhawati (ILRI/Stevie Mann)

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