New Delhi: A new study has found that samples of chicken liver meat and egg yolk collected from three major regions in Mumbai contain ‘multi-drug resistant’ bacteria.
A bacterium is considered multi-drug resistant when it is resistant to antibiotics of three or more classes. This means that if a person consumes chicken meat or eggs which contain multi-drug resistant bacteria and gets infected, then it will be difficult to treat him/her.
The study, published recently in the journal Acta Scientific Microbiology, found that samples of chicken liver showed complete resistance to azithromycin antibiotic that is commonly prescribed to humans. It said the growing antibiotic resistance in the chicken samples was due to the use of excessive human antibiotics to boost their growth and protect them from diseases.
The study also revealed that samples of egg yolks showed 100 per cent resistance to various antibiotics such as azithromycin, erythromycin, amoxicillin and nitrofurantoin. These antibiotics feature in the WHO’s list of ‘critically important’ medicines.
Authored by researchers at the National Facility for Biopharmaceuticals, St John College of Humanities and Sciences, and VES College of Pharmacy, the study was undertaken to find out the prevalence of multi-drug resistant bacteria called Salmonellae, which causes food poisoning, in raw chicken liver and egg yolk.
It studied Salmonellae’s interaction with 12 commonly used antibiotics such as amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, ceftriaxone, erythromycin, gentamicin, chloramphenicol, levofloxacin, ofloxacin and nitrofurantoin. Of the 115 Salmonella isolates obtained, 71 were taken from chicken liver and 44 from egg yolk.
“Among the 71 chicken liver isolates, 100 per cent resistance to azithromycin was observed. The isolates were prominently sensitive to only ceftriaxone, levofloxacin and ciprofloxacin. Among the 44 egg yolk isolates, all showed 100 per cent resistance to azithromycin, amoxicillin, erythromycin and nitrofurantoin,” the study said.
The study thus found that of the 12 antibiotics, only three were found to be effective against the chicken liver isolates and two in case of the egg yolk isolates.
Increase in antimicrobial resistance in humans
In 2017, a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) also found misuse of antibiotics in poultry farms in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.
The study – Antibiotic Resistance in Poultry Environment – found 100 per cent of E. coli, 92 per cent of Klebsiella pneumoniae and 78 per cent of Staphylococcus lentus bacteria to be multi-drug resistant.
According to a report by the UN’s Interagency Coordination Group, the drug-resistant diseases already cause at least 7 lakh deaths globally every year — this figure could go up to one crore every year by 2050.
The report has also said around 2.4 crore people could be forced into extreme poverty, mainly in low-income countries, due to antimicrobial resistance and the annual economic damage it would cause could be comparable to the shocks experienced during the 2008-09 global financial crisis.
“There is no time to wait. Unless the world acts urgently, antimicrobial resistance will have a disastrous impact within a generation,” the report released last month had said.