Guinea pig health
Antibiotic Types and Handling Practices in Disease Management among Pig Farms in Ashanti Region, Ghana
The types of antibiotics used by 110 pig farms in the Ashanti region and the handling practices of the farmers during disease management were assessed. Misdiagnosis and inadequate protection during antibiotic handling in the farms increased the risk of antibiotic resistance development and spread. The factors affecting antibiotic resistance development and spread are rife in pig farms in Ashanti region and appropriate education and veterinary interventions are needed to prevent resistant bacteria from becoming endemic in pork and pig farm communities. The use of antimicrobials in livestock and the husbandry practices of the farmers have been implicated as a cause of antibiotic resistance [2, 3]. Pig farmers use antibiotics for treatment, metaphylaxis, prophylaxis, and growth promotion in their farm animals [1, 2, 4].
The relatively larger farm animal populations consume more than half the antibiotics produced globally [4-6]. Diseases among pigs tend to reduce productivity by reducing feed conversion efficiency, slowing growth rate, and increasing mortalities. Because of the central role of antibiotics in disease management, a study of prevalent diseases and their management practices will aid in informing practical interventions that will aim at reducing the development and spread of antibiotic resistance as a result of antibiotic use in disease management. The absence of data on the type of antibiotics used and their handling practices on pig farms, especially in Ghana and Africa, is detrimental to our understanding of the factors leading to antibiotic resistance. As a step to encourage surveillance studies that shall help researchers track the factors influencing bacterial resistance, this study assessed the antibiotic types and their handling practices among pig farmers in disease management, allowing for recommendations to contain and prevent the development and spread of resistant bacteria through the food chain.
Table 1: Types of antibiotics used by pig farmers in selected districts in the Ashanti region of Ghana. The types and handling practices of antibiotics used in both clinical and veterinary medicine have been implicated in the development and spread of resistant bacterial phenotypes that is affecting the therapeutic efficacy of current antibiotics and food security [1, 2, 7]. This study aimed at assessing the practices and types of antibiotics prevalent on Ghanaian pig farms, using the Ashanti region as a case study. The use of antibiotics intended for clinical use is advised against as a cause of the spread of antibiotic resistance from farms to communities and treatment centres [3, 7]. Hence, the use of mainly veterinary antibiotics for basically therapeutic purposes among the farms reduces the risks of antibiotics resistance development and spread.
Nevertheless, the farms mainly depended on the tetracyclines, sulphadimidine, dihydrostreptomycin, and benzylpenicillin for the management of most diseases. The farmers depended more on fellow farmers than veterinarians for antibiotic knowledge, which resulted in the use of the same antibiotics and similar handling practices among farms in close proximity or within the same district. Errors in antibiotic handling and administration were common among the farms. Inadequate knowledge about antibiotics and their effect on the environment and public health among pig farmers made them use and dispose of antibiotics imprudently, increasing the risk of antibiotic resistance development and spread. Education on the importance of pro- and prebiotics, improved farm hygienic practices, strict laws regarding the sales, and use of antibiotics and increased veterinarian interventions on the farms are important to limit the occurrence of diseases and subsequent use of antibiotics.
Chefs fight for the right to serve their pork pink
The Chartered Institute for Environmental Health, which represents food inspectors, highlights a recent report for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which revealed that the number of human hepatitis E cases increased by 39% between 2011 and 2012. Critics insist that pink pork tastes better and is not a health risk, providing certain guidelines are followed. Over the summer a pop-up restaurant run by the Ginger Pig company, the upmarket chain of butchers in London, served more than 2,000 people a ribeye cut of pork shoulder taken off the bone and served pink without incident. Swift said there was a noticeable trend for restaurants to serve their pork on the pink side. She pointed to the increasing number of Spanish-influenced restaurants, such as the José tapas bar and its sister restaurant Pizarro, both in Bermondsey, London, which have won rapturous reviews for serving a speciality, Ibérico pork, presented extremely rare.
José Pizarro, whose restaurant was voted best last year at both the Food and Travel Magazine Awards and the World Food Awards, said that when he first started out working in restaurants in London 14 years ago his employers thought he was mad for serving rare pork. Concerns about undercooked pork stretch back to the foot and mouth crisis of 2001 which was triggered by pigs being fed on scraps containing animal products, including that from their own species. Feeding pigs on scraps was banned in the UK as a result of the crisis. Morris said the reputation of the supplier was still no guarantee that the meat was not carrying hepatitis E. An investigation by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency found hepatitis E in 49% of pigs in Scotland.
The trend for pork to be be served pink intensified in 2011 when the US Department of Agriculture lowered the recommended minimum cooking temperature of pork by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Chefs and food critics complain that inspectors have been over-zealous in applying the rules governing the cooking of meat. Morris defended the right of food inspectors to intervene in the debate.