Better practices can reduce the high antimicrobial resistance in Tanzania
Tanzania has high levels of antimicrobial resistance, which means people don’t respond as well to medicines that fight diseases caused by bacterial infections.. Researchers took a close look at the possible causes of antimicrobial resistance and found that bad practices in food and agriculture sectors must be addressed to reduce antimicrobial resistance.
Antimicrobials are used extensively in animal-based food products and have been over-prescribed in health settings, making them less effective. Antimicrobial resistance is a global health threat.
The overuse of antimicrobials in animals might be linked to farmers and other people who work with animals who are unqualified to administer these antimicrobials correctly because of poor education.
This study set out to investigate how effective government regulation of antimicrobial use is in Tanzania. The researchers also wanted to see how much antimicrobials are overused by looking for their residues in animal and crop value chains. Their goal was to recommend strategies to stem antimicrobial resistance in the country.
The researchers reviewed documents and visited facilities where antimicrobials are used. They also observed and interviewed 32 people, and held a large group discussion with 83 chicken farmers.
The study found high levels of resistance to the antimicrobials penicillin G, chloramphenicol, streptomycin and oxytetracycline. These important antimicrobials are used against pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, which causes mastitis, a painful infection of the breasts in humans and dairy cows.
They found other worrying results in the livestock sector in Tanzania, like high levels of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can cause mild to severe gastrointestinal illness. Researchers warn that there is an alarming rate of antimicrobials being used by farmers as prophylaxis (preventative measures) and to help livestock grow faster.
The researchers recommend that the food agriculture sectors in Tanzania use the One Health approach, which considers the environment, animals and people involved in how a disease is spread, to combat antimicrobial resistance. The study suggests that Tanzania review their agricultural legislation and how it is implemented.
The researchers advocate for better animal husbandry practices and that they make use of rapid diagnostic tests to ensure the health and safety of their livestock, so they can reduce their untargeted use of antimicrobials.
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All infections are potentially curable as long as the etiological agents are susceptible to antimicrobials. The increased rate at which antimicrobials are becoming ineffective is a global health risk of increasing concern that threatens withdrawal of beneficial antimicrobials for disease control. The increased demand for food of animal origin, in particular eggs, meat and milk has led to intensification and commercial production systems where excessive use and misuse of antimicrobials may prevail. Antimicrobials, handled and used by farmers and animal attendants with no formal education, may be predisposed to incorrect dosages, misuse, incorrect applications and non-adherence to withdrawal periods. This study was conducted to assess the regulatory roles and governance of antimicrobials, establish the pattern and extent of their use, evaluate the antimicrobial residues and resistance in the food animals and crop agriculture value chains, and relate these findings to existing strategies in place for combating the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in Tanzania. A multimethod approach (desk review, field study and interviews) was used. Relevant establishments were also visited. High levels of resistance to penicillin G, chloramphenicol, streptomycin and oxytetracycline have been reported, especially for Actinobacter pyogenes, Staphylococcus hyicus, Staphylococcus intermedius and Staphylococcus aureus from dairy cattle with mastitis and in humans. Similar trends were found in poultry where eggs and meat are contaminated with Escherichia coli strains resistant to amoxicillin + clavulanate, sulphamethoxazole and neomycin. An increasing trend of emerging multidrug resistant E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella was also found in food animals. An increase in methicillin resistant Staphlococcus aureus (MRSA) and extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) in the livestock sector in Tanzania have been reported. The pathogens isolated in animals were resistant to ampicillin, augmentin, gentamicin, co-trimoxazole, tetracycline, amoxicillin, streptomycin, nalidixic acid, azithromycin, chloramphenicol, tylosin, erythromycin, cefuroxime, norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin. An increased usage of antimicrobials for prophylaxis, and therapeutics against pathogens and for growth promotion in livestock, aquaculture and crop production were observed. A One Health strategic approach is advocated to combat antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the food and agriculture sectors in Tanzania. Practical recommendations include (a) legislation review and implementation; (b) antimicrobial use (AMU), AMR and antimicrobial residue (AR) awareness and advocacy among stakeholders along the value chain; (c) strengthening of surveillance and monitoring programs for AMU, AMR and AR; (d) enhanced development and use of rapid and innovative diagnostic tests and the promotion of biosecurity principles; and (e) good husbandry practices. The utilization of this information to improve public health policies and reduce the burden of AMR will be beneficial.
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