Environmental and Public Health Impact of SubTherapeutic Antibiotic Use in the Poultry Industry- A Pilot Study

Introduction: India’s poultry sector is a rapidly developing and diverse sub-sector of agriculture. Extensive use of antibiotics as growth promoters in poultry farms can pick genes from bacterial isolates of broiler origin for antimicrobial resistance and may spread to the environment and people in close contact, thus posing a threat to human health.

Methods: Soil samples from different poultry farms in different districts of Tamil Nadu were collected to study the effects of sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in order to detect the percentage of antibiotic resistance and resistance determinants in the soil. For their resistant characteristics, environmental and carrier staphylococcal isolates were studied.

Results: Tetracycline and erythromycin resistant bacteria were detected in soil samples from eight different farms. The mean resistance levels were highly variable , ranging from 59-93% for tetracycline to 23-78% for erythromycin. The gene that was most common was erm(A) (56.2 percent) Compared with outside, observed inside the farms. The resistance gene most commonly observed in environmental staphylococcal isolates of farm H was erm (A) (100 percent ) , followed by msr (A) (75 percent), tet K (62.5 percent) and erm (C) (25 percent).

Conclusion: In conclusion, the existence of resistance determinants may make the poultry farm a possible reservoir of resistance to tetracycline and erythromycin, resulting in contamination of the environment.

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