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Antibiotics are frequently utilized in livestock, particularly poultry, for therapy and growth promotion, resulting in antimicrobial resistance. Multidrug-resistant bacteria are frequent in poultry samples from India. The purpose of this study was to better understand main antibiotic consumption patterns in poultry value chains, as well as antibiotic knowledge and practices among the stakeholders.

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Assam and Karnataka, India. The poultry farmers were interviewed on antibiotic usage, antibiotic knowledge, feeding practices, and preventive measures on the farm. Poultry farmers reported their veterinarians, and we also interviewed them on knowledge and practices related to antimicrobial use in poultry and antimicrobial resistance. Item response theory (IRT) was used to assess the association between the answers and demographic factors.

This survey interviewed 62 poultry farmers and 11 veterinarians. Small poultry farms with fewer than 4000 birds were owned by 51.6% of farmers. Most poultry farmers had heard about antibiotics, and 62.9% thought they cured all diseases. If one chicken is sick, 72.6% said others should be given antibiotics to prevent the disease. All veterinarians utilized tetracyclines, aminoglycosides, and cephalexin on the poultry farms. Over half (54.5%) stated antibiotics prevent diseases, and 72.7% said they treat and prevent diseases. Some (45.5%) said antibiotics boost growth. IRT analysis showed that 8 questions assessed a knowledge scale well. Univariable analysis showed that Assam farmers and women were likely to have have more knowledge.

The poultry farmers were mostly unaware of the relation between antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance. Despite being aware, the veterinarians agreed with use antibiotics as a prophylactic measure. It is vital that these stakeholders understand the repercussions of such widespread antibiotic use. In order to increase knowledge, frequent trainings and antimicrobial stewardship programmes with effective communication and incentives for behaviour change should be conducted.

Sharma, G., Dey, T., Hazarika, R.A., Shome, B.R., Shome, R., Singh, V.P., Deka, R.P., Grace, D. and Lindahl, J.F. 2024. Knowledge and practices related to antibiotics among poultry producers and veterinarians in two Indian states. One Health 18: 100700.

Photo: Chickens at the Ganeshguru livestock market, Guhawati, India (ILRI/Stevie Mann)

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