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What is the News?
The Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying have written to the chief secretaries of all states and Union territories regarding the threat posed by antibiotic use in the aquaculture sector.
Antimicrobial resistance in Aquaculture Sector
Antimicrobial resistance is being seen in the aquaculture sector, particularly shrimp aquaculture. This is due to antibiotic misuse and overuse in aquaculture.
Impact: In addition to health risks posed by antibiotic-laden food, there have been instances of rejection of shrimp consignments from India due to antibiotic detection.
Hence, there is an urgent need for measures such as monitoring and regulating the sale and distribution of antibiotics for veterinary use and ensuring that antibiotics are only sold on the prescription of registered veterinary practitioners.
Antimicrobial resistance in Cattle Sector
The Cattle Sector is also impacted by the overuse of antibiotics. The major reason is that the majority of India’s 537 million cattle are in rural areas and so, access to veterinary services is limited.
This gap in service delivery is mostly filled by quacks who charge less and are easily accessible. Treatment by people with little or no formal training frequently results in misuse of antibiotics, seen most commonly in the treatment of Mastitis Disease.
What are the steps the Government is taking to overcome limited veterinary services?
The government is introducing mobile veterinary units(MVUs) as part of the Livestock Health and Disease Control Programme.
An MVU is a GPS-tracked four-wheeler van with working space for one veterinarian, one para veterinarian and a driver/attendant as well as space for diagnostic equipment, treatment, minor surgery and other basic requirements, as well as audiovisual aids to raise awareness.
The MVUs will be providing treatment at the farmer’s doorsteps. This will help address concerns around dairy farmers in rural areas being frequently compelled to travel far from their homes to seek treatment for their animals.
Source: This post is based on the article ‘Antimicrobial resistance in aquaculture can hit exports, Centre warns states’ published in Down To Earth on 20th January 2022.