Antibiotic Usage in Poultry Production and Antimicrobial-Resistant Salmonella in Poultry

  • Deepak Kumar
  • Suchawan Pornsukarom
  • Siddhartha ThakurEmail author
Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


“Post-antibiotic era” is not an imaginary word anymore and seems to be a real possibility with increased number of bacterial pathogens being reported as multidrug resistant (MDR). Indiscriminate use of antimicrobials in food animals for growth promotion and disease prevention is considered the key driver behind this surge. Increased demand and global acceptability of chicken meat over beef and pork have resulted in rearing of poultry birds in high-density farms, which are often overcrowded. In such farms, sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics are routinely administered to prevent bacterial infections and to compensate the lack of adequate hygienic conditions. In many parts of the world, “medically important” antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones and cephalosporins constitute the “sub-therapeutic” regimen administered to poultry. Low-dose feeding of antibiotics results in the development of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) pathogens and presents a true risk of such pathogens entering the human food chain either through meat, manure, humans, or water. Transmission of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) to the environment and eventually humans further aggravates the situation. Increased prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella poses a severe risk to human health. Higher prevalence of Salmonella associated with chicken meat has been well-documented, and this prevalence has immense human health implications. Multistate outbreaks of Salmonella associated with the consumption of contaminated chicken meat have been reported. Misuse of antimicrobials in the poultry farms contributes to the increased Salmonella prevalence in poultry and poultry products. A One Health approach which includes judicious and unbiased antibiotic prescription in humans, regulated antibiotic use in food animals, and monitoring of antibiotic resistance in environmental reservoirs is needed to counter the threat of AMR in foodborne pathogens. Most countries have regulatory procedures in place for antibiotic usage in farms, but the extent to which it is applied varies markedly among countries. Awareness within countries on the adverse effects of misuse of antimicrobials in food animal production varies from good to negligible. Alternative approaches to control AMR such as improved management practices, wider use of vaccines, and introduction of probiotics are envisaged. However, while there is still a lack of consensus on the contribution of antibiotic usage in food animals to the development of AMR, epidemiological and molecular studies point to a relationship between antimicrobial use and the emergence of resistant bacterial strains in animals, and their spread to humans, via the food chain.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deepak Kumar
    • 1
  • Suchawan Pornsukarom
    • 2
  • Siddhartha Thakur
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic Medicine/PathobiologyCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State UniversityManhattanUSA
  2. 2.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineRajamangala University of Technology Tawan-okBangphraThailand
  3. 3.Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary MedicineNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  4. 4.Comparative Medicine InstituteNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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