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Antibiotic resistance:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Antibiotic resistance:

Context:

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) recently published a survey report on antibiotic use in the dairy sector.

Concerns expressed:

  1. Antibiotics are extensively misused in the dairy sector and its residues remain largely untested in milk, which is an integral part of Indian diets, particularly of children.
  2. Another pandemic-like situation — Antibiotic resistance fuelled by the way we are producing our food, which has become chemical-intensive, could become another pandemic- like situation.
  3. Farmers often sell milk while the animal is under treatment, which increases the chances of antibiotic residues. While milk sold directly to consumers is not tested, contrary to what one would expect, processed milk sold in packets is also largely unchecked for antibiotic residues.

Why there is increased use of antibiotics?

Farmers indiscriminately use antibiotics for diseases such as mastitis (infection/inflammation of the udder), a common ailment in dairy animals.

  • Often, these include critically important antibiotics (CIAs) for humans — the WHO has warned that they should be preserved in view of the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance.
  • The abused antibiotics — despite a law against it — are easily available without the prescription of a registered veterinarian and stocked at farms.

Background:

India is the world’s largest milk producer — it produced a massive 188 million tonnes in 2018-19.

  • Urban areas consume 52% of it, and the unorganised sector, comprising milkmen and contractors, caters to 60% of this consumer base;
  • The remaining demand is met by dairy cooperatives and private dairies which represent the organised sector.

What is Antimicrobial resistance?

It is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Antibiotic resistance?
  2. What are antibodies?
  3. Milk production and consumption in India.
  4. What are critically important antibiotics (CIAs)?

Mains link:

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health challenges of 21st century. Examine why. 

Sources: the Hindu.