Impact of AMR on Animal Health and Welfare, Health News, ET HealthWorld
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms to persist or grow despite the presence of drugs designed to inhibit or kill them. These drugs – called antimicrobials (antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, antiparasitics) – are used to treat infectious diseases caused by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. When microorganisms become resistant to antimicrobials; standard treatments are often ineffective, and in some cases, no drug offers effective treatment. Therefore; treatments fail, prolonging disease and increasing mortality not only in animals but also in humans. In addition, AMR can spread to a variety of hosts and the environment, and antimicrobial resistant microorganisms and antimicrobial resistance (ARG) genes can contaminate the food chain.
The gains made on infectious diseases and in their fight, particularly against bacterial diseases, are dwindling with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant supergerms. This antimicrobial resistance calls into question the current treatment regimen for infectious diseases. The widespread misuse, overuse and underuse of antibiotics in different health sectors, including animal husbandry, leads to antimicrobial resistance. Recently, the livestock sector has observed some patterns of intensive agriculture. Certain unscientific processes adopted in these models to reduce costs and increase margins have led to overuse of antimicrobials and opened avenues for resistance to move up the food chain. According to research, the continued increase in AMR could lead to 10 million deaths per year by 2050. This could lead to a 7.5% reduction in animal production and lead to a decline of up to 3.5% of global GDP, which would cost the world up to $ 100,000 billion.
As such, RAM is a normal evolutionary phenomenon, which cannot be eradicated. AMR is a survival mechanism to resist the toxic effects of drugs and ARGs are passed down from generation to generation through microbial lines. What is worrying, however, is the rate at which some microbes acquire resistance, with or without exposure to antibiotics. The increasing demands for animal foods are adding pressure on the livestock sector and thus have led to the adoption of unsustainable practices with increased use of antibiotics. Besides therapeutic use, the livestock sector uses antibiotics for mass medication of animals for prophylactic purposes and as growth promoters. This has profound consequences as it promotes the development of antimicrobial resistance. Prophylactic and metaphylactic use of antimicrobials exposes healthy animals to antimicrobials, leading to increased use of antimicrobials in the livestock sector.
Routine antimicrobial prophylaxis and metaphylaxis are strange models of veterinary production, as similar examples in human medicine of routine antimicrobial mass drugs for healthy individuals are rare. Routine prophylaxis and metaphylaxis result in heavy consumption of antimicrobials, as “healthy” animals will always outnumber sick animals. These unscientific practices are amplified in intensive agriculture because these models often operate on narrow margins, often cutting corners by using antibiotics rather than adopting biosecurity, scientific hygiene practices and good health practices. breeding (BPH). But this has serious consequences as 75-90% of the antibiotics tested are excreted by animals in unmetabolized form and enter sewage systems and water sources, resulting in greater exposure for all different users. .
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The recognition of the One Health concept and the increased understanding that human health is intimately linked to animal and environmental health has led breeders to consider GAHP to minimize the use of antibiotics. In addition, there is a better understanding that unscientific practices – aimed at reducing costs and increasing margins – increase the use of antimicrobials causing great harm. This has led to better government oversight and a reduction in the use of antibiotics as food additives. In addition, the adoption of ethnoveterinary practices as well as a better understanding and use of Ayurvedic medicine in livestock management provide an alternative path for efficient livestock management with limited residues.
Understanding these intricacies and the interplay of factors that necessitate the indiscriminate use of antimicrobials will help stop bad practices. The National Action Plan (NAP) on Antimicrobial Resistance has increased the importance of stakeholder education. There is a growing realization that AMR infections compromise animal health, welfare, biosecurity, production and ultimately human health. We need to make sure antibiotics are used responsibly so AMR can be mitigated.
Dr RK Singh, Project Director, One Health Support Unit
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