The government is looking to curb non-therapeutic abuse of antibiotics as growth promoters in the veterinary sector with an aim to check the growing antibiotic resistance among humans.
Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication previously used to treat it. Inappropriate use of antibiotics — whether by taking them when they are not required or taking an incomplete course or using them too regularly— makes bacterial infections immune to antibiotics.
According to WHO 7,00,000 people die each year globally as a result of once-treatable health conditions.
“Antibiotic resistance is more due to (antibiotic) misuse in animals than humans. Since unregulated use of antibiotics is immense in the veterinary sector, it will be our main focus area,” said National Centre for Disease Control’s (NCDC) director Dr S Venkatesh.
A 2014 study by the Centre for Science and Environment proved growing antibiotic-resistance in humans was because of large-scale indiscriminate use of antibiotics in the poultry industry.
As part of the study, 70 chicken samples from Delhi-NCR were scanned and 40% of them tested positive for antibiotic. About 17% had tested positive for more than one antibiotic.
“Misuse continues even though there are studies that have shown use of antibiotics among animals as growth promoters does not make much difference in the quality,” Venkatesh said.
According to a Lancet report published this year, approximately 57,000 neonatal deaths each year in India may be attributable to neonatal sepsis caused by bacteria resistant to first-line antibiotics.