Farms In Asia, Africa Pose Mega Threat Global Health

Sep 20, 2019

Alarm as antimicrobial resistance surges among chickens, pigs and cattle

| Drug-resistant bacteria are gaining a stronghold in developing countries where meat production has soared.

Nature – Farm animals in India and northeast China are becoming more resistant to common antimicrobial drugs — a worrying trend that is rising as meat production increases in the developing world, researchers report.

Hotspots of drug resistance are also emerging in Kenya, Uruguay and Brazil, according to a study of antimicrobial resistance in livestock across Asia, Africa and South America.

Meat production has risen sharply in these regions since 2000, fuelled by more intensive farming practices, including the use of antibiotics in animals to promote growth and prevent infections. The study was published on 19 September in Science.

“For the first time, we have some evidence that antibiotic resistance [in farm animals] is rising, and is rising fast in low- and middle-income countries,” says Thomas Van Boeckel, an epidemiologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich who co-authored the analysis.

He says that governments should take action against the growing threat and coordinate their efforts on a global scale.

To study how resistance has evolved over time, Van Boeckel and his colleagues analysed 901 epidemiological studies, conducted in developing nations, that focused on four common bacteria: Salmonella, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus and E. coliRead more.