Health & Medicine

The First Study of Antimicrobial-resistance in Sports Animals of Nakhon Si Thammarat Revealed.

Recently, a research team from Walailak University led by Assistant Professor Dr. Punpichaya Fungwithaya, an instructor and veterinarian of Akkhraratchakumari Veterinary College, revealed a list of Methicilin-resistant staphylococci (MRS) in sports animals in Nakhon Si Thammarat. These MRS are multidrug-resistant bacteria that carry multiple antimicrobial resistance genes and play role in zoonotic disease in human.

   Almost half a year of conducting research, the team collected samples from sports animals by using swabbing techniques: nasal swabbing with 57 fighting bulls and 33 riding horses, and skin swabbing underneath the wings of 32 fighting cocks.

   “Before the veterinary college was constructed, the owners of these sports animals particularly in communities around the area of Walailak university would buy medicine to treat animals’ wounds. Most of the medicines were antimicrobial drugs. Some didn’t know how long the medicine should be applied. Some were unaware of the proper dosage. And this leads to antimicrobial resistance problems,” said Dr. Punpichaya.

   After the samples were run in labs, the researchers found out that these sports animals possess a variety of bacteria that are multidrug-resistant. Staphylococci sciuri were mostly found in fighting bulls, riding horses and  fighting cocks.

   “We found that Staphylococci sciuri, whose name later was changed to Mammaliicoccus sciuri, have resistance to more than 10 medicines. Furthermore, drug-resistance genes can be transferred between species, leading to more antimicrobial resistance in the future,” Dr. Punpichaya explained.

   These antimicrobial resistance bacteria are considered opportunistic pathogens that take advantage of people who do not have normal immune, such as patients in ICU, immunocompromised patients, young children, and elders; making treatment more difficult and requiring stronger medicine in higher doses.

   “Our team has been campaigning to disseminate the knowledge about antimicrobial drugs. Farmers and the owners of these animals are now more aware of this issue. And, they bring their animals to see us,” Dr. Punpichaya added.

   The research does not only raise awareness about antimicrobial resistance but also provides veterinarians with information about treatments. The right prescriptions by vets and an understanding of medicine usage will help reduce the antimicrobial resistance problem and reduce the risks of animal-to-human or human-to-animal transmission of antimicrobial resistance.

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Photos by Assistant Professor Dr. Punpichaya Fungwithaya
Article by Settaboot Onphakdee