The researchers have found a rapid increase in antimicrobial resistance. And showed that this trend was more obvious in low and middle-income countries.
In this study, the research team has produced the first map showing global rates of antimicrobial resistance. And identified regions in an urgent need of interventions. The journal “Science” has published the study results.
Indiscriminate and excessive use of antimicrobial drugs
Currently, the world is experiencing exceptional economic growth in low and middle-income countries. And a large number of people in China, India, Africa, and Latin America have become wealthier. That is reflected by their increased intake of meat and dairy products.
In Africa, meat intake has heightened by more than half. While it has gone up by two-thirds in Latin America and Asia. So, the animal husbandry has intensified to meet this increased demand. Besides this, there is also an increase in reliance on antimicrobials use.
Farmers use these antimicrobials to prevent and treat infections in animals present in crowded conditions. But these drugs can also lead to increased weight gain, and as a result, improve profitability.
This indiscriminate and excessive use of antimicrobials has some serious outcomes. And it has led to an increase in antimicrobial resistance around the world. Drugs are losing their efficiency, with important consequences for the health of both, animals and humans.
There are limited surveillance capacities in low and middle-income countries to trace the antimicrobial use and resistance on farms. But, the use of antimicrobial drugs is also less documented and regulated in these countries compared with wealthy industrialized countries. Whereas the later ones have more established surveillance systems.
A map indicating antimicrobial resistance
In this study, the research team has presented a map of antimicrobial resistance among animals in low and middle-income countries. The team has gathered a large literature database. And found that in which species of animals, the resistance occurred for some common foodborne bacteria.
That includes Staphylococcus, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli. According to the study results, high rates of antimicrobial resistance were present in Iran, Turkey, Brazil, northeast China, and Northeast India. In these countries, bacteria have got resistance against a large number of drugs, that are applicable in both animals and human medicine.
The highest rates had an association with the antimicrobials mostly used in animals. Such as sulphonamides, penicillins, tetracyclines, and quinolones. While, in some areas, these antimicrobial compounds have completely lost their efficacy to treat infections.
This alarming trend suggests that drugs used to treat or prevent antimicrobial infections in animals are rapidly losing their effectivity. That will influence the sustainability of the animal industry and the health of consumers.
Antimicrobial resistance is a global health concern. The research team has developed an open-access web platform – resistancebank.org. That can share their findings and gather additional resistance-related data in animals.
This platform can help donors to discover regions most affected by antimicrobial resistance (AMR). And identifying these regions is necessary for finance-related interventions. With a continuous rise in meat production, the web platform can help target interventions against AMR. And assist a change to more sustainable farming practices, specifically in low and middle-income countries.