Bacteria Found in Chickens in Indian Markets Can Cause Cancer

A study found that a common poultry pathogen collected from broilers and free-range chickens in Hyderabad, India bird markets is resistant to different antibiotics.

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The pathogen called H. pullorum contained five or six antimicrobial resistance genes, making it resistant to antibiotics like fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins and sulfonamides among others.

This study was published recently in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

According to coauthor Dr. Niyaz Ahmed, H. pullorum carries a toxin that can interfere with the cell cycle and cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Ahmed is a professor of Biotechnology & Bioinformatics in University of Hyderabad, India.

Ahmed reported that H. pullorum could potentially cause several diseases to poultry and humans, noting that there were reported cases of diseases occurring in human intestines caused by the bacteria. He added that H. pullorum could become a public health concern as it can cause cancer.

With almost half a billion Indians eating chickens, the spread of the multi-drug resistant bacteria is potential.

Lack of research on H. pullorum provides a reason for a study to be conducted.

“We targeted wet market poultry outlets for our sampling, keeping in mind that poultry in India are often fed with antibiotics to promote weight gain. These practices most likely boost spread of drug-resistant pathogens among animals and humans, posing a significant public health risk,” Ahmed said.

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