Overuse of antibiotics in husbandry cause of drug resistance

The extensive use of antimicrobial drugs has resulted in drug resistance that threatens to reverse the medical advances and abuse of antibiotics in breeding animal is one of cause of unsafe food, warned health experts yesterday.

At a seminar on food safety and hygiene from overuse of banned chemicals in husbandry held by the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), Professor Dau Ngoc Hao fro the Vietnam Animal Health Association, said that Vietnam is the only country to sell antibiotics without doctors’ prescription.

In 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development implemented a survey on antibiotics use in husbandry in five provinces including the southern provinces of Dong Ngai, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Binh Dương, and the northern provinces of Thai Binh and Nam Dinh.

Survey result showed that antibiotics were routinely fed to livestock, poultry, and fish on industrial farms. Most of breeding farms use antibiotics in prevention and treatment for pigs; 68 percent of farms use the animal feeds with antibiotics to prevent and stimulate growth for animals; 24.4 percent of farms blend antibiotics into feed with purpose of disease prevention and growth stimulation.

Using antibiotics not only sees in animal breeding but also in breeding aquatic breeding. Authorities discovered that aquatic farmers used many banned antibiotics in raising tra, ro phi and loc fishes, shrimp, prawn. Worse, banned Chloramphenicol (CAP) was detected to be used in breeding and preserving aquatic products which are sold across the country.

According to Dr. Nguyen Kim Van from Vietnam Plant Protection Association, most plant protection drugs in Vietnam are imported. Since 2006, the country has imported over 70,000 tons of such drugs a year spending US$210-774million. Over 90 percent of imported plant protection drugs are from China.

Experts said that pig and fish farmers did not wait for ‘withdrawal time’ which is the amount of time that the antibiotic has to be withdrawn from the animal before it is slaughtered and sold in market, accordingly residues in animal is threatening consumers’ health.

Antibiotics that might result in deposition of residues in meat, milk and eggs and people also consume antibiotics leading to rampant drug resistance.

Drug resistance is becoming the most concern of the World Health Organization (WHO). Vietnam is ranked as one of the countries with high rate of patients suffering drug resistance. The reason for that is not only people’s uncontrolled taking drug but also because they have to eat antibiotics in animals.

Dr. Nguyen Quoc Binh from Cho Ray Hospital Vietnamese people have habit of buying antibiotics without doctors’ prescription leading to drug resistance. As per a survey of selling antibiotics in northern urban and rural districts carried out by the Ministry of Health, it showed that consumers and pharmacy assistants’ awareness of using antibiotics and drug resistance is low. Most of people buy the drug without doctors’ prescription with 88 percent in cities and 91 percent in countryside areas.

Medical experts said that there is drug resistance to some new antibiotics which have been used in the country just for 10 years. Drug resistance is becoming serious gradually resulting in low long hospitalization and more medical cost, head of the Health Ministry’s Medical Examination and Treatment Department Professor Luong Ngoc Khue said.

Mr. Khue petitioned related agencies to early have a severe sanction on breeding farms which overuse antibiotics and penalties on pharmacies to sell antibiotics without prescription.

Furthermore, in hospitals, Prof. Khue proposed doctors conducting blood culture regularly for diagnosis of multi-resistance and managers should considered old prescription to issue penalties on doctors who write prescription with antibiotics unnecessarily.

By Tuong Lam - translated by Anh Quan

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