Epidemiological aspects of non‐human antibiotic usage and resistance: implications for the control of antibiotic resistance in Ghana
Objectives To provide insights into the epidemiology of antibiotic usage in animal husbandry in Ghana and its effect on resistance.
Methods Three hundred and ninety‐five randomly sampled commercial livestock keepers who practised intensive or extensive farming were interviewed about their antibiotic usage practices using a structured questionnaire. Escherichia coli isolated from stool specimens of farmers and their animals were tested against eight antibiotics using the Kirby Bauer method.
Results Ninety‐eight percent (387) of the farmers used antibiotics on animals and the main purpose was to prevent infections in animals; 41% applied antibiotics monthly. The overall prevalence of multiple drug resistance among the E. coli isolates was 91.6%; rates in human and animal isolates were 70.6% and 97.7%, respectively. The prevalence of resistance in animal isolates to the various drugs ranged from 60.8% (amikacin) to 95.7% (ampicillin); the prevalence of resistance in human isolates to the drugs ranged from 2% (cefuroxime) to 94.1% (gentamicin). Animal E. coli isolates showed higher resistance than that of human isolates for five of eight drugs tested.
Conclusion It is concluded that antibiotic usage in animal husbandry in Ghana is more driven by the interest of livestock keepers to prevent and treat animal infections than growth enhancement. Both animal and human E. coli showed high levels of antibiotic resistance, although resistance of animal isolates appeared to be higher than that of humans. There is the need for the development of an antibiotic‐resistance management programme in Ghana that will focus simultaneously on human and animal use of antibiotics.
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