Veterinarians test livestock products in antibiotics-use survey

The testing of samples is expected to improve surveillance and monitoring of cases of drug resistance.
The Nyeri county veterinary department is collecting samples of fish, milk, poultry, beef, fish and mutton from farms and markets, for testing purposes to identify use of antibiotics in livestock.
The exercise is expected to provide information on the prevalence of use of antibiotics as a way to fight Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR).
Agriculture and Livestock County Executive James Wachihi said the research will establish how farmers use high levels of antibiotics that lead to resistance in humans and animals against lifesaving drugs.
The department for livestock said confirmation of a drug resistant strain of mastitis — a bacterial infection that causes inflammation to the udder in dairy cattle — was a warning on the need to tackle the issue urgently.
Last year the county set up a team to tackle drug resistance following reports of a new strain of mastitis in some parts of Mathira constituency.
“It is true and it is still the case. Some mastitis-causing bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics. For instance, some have become resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline,” Wachihi explained.
The AMR committee which comprises professionals from the medical and agricultural sector is expected to create public awareness on drug-resistant bacteria.
It is also mandated to address the misuse of antibiotics in humans and livestock, which is linked to the development of drug resistance.
The testing of samples is expected to improve surveillance and monitoring of cases of drug resistance.
“There is a close link between drug resistance to certain diseases in humans and the over-prescription of drugs in livestock,” he said.
One approach the AMR committee has employed is the One Health approach, which works to combat the link between the livestock and human disease resistance.
“In poultry we have overuse of antibiotics, while for milk there is contamination of aflatoxins, especially when the withdrawal periods are not observed,” he noted.
There is a specific period of a time a farmer should avoid milking or slaughtering their animals if they have administered antibiotics.
He explained that an emerging trend in the war against AMR is the use of antibiotics in animal feed which could also contribute to the overuse of the drugs.
“Farmers would follow the guidelines but unknowingly be feeding their animals with manufactured feed which contain heavy doses of antibiotics,” he stated.

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