By Meg Thode

Earlier this month scientists from the University of Hyderabad in India published the results of a study examining drug-resistant bacteria in chicken. Birds taken from local markets were tested for Helicobacter pullorum, a toxic and extremely virulent bacteria which can interrupt the cell cycle, damage genetic material, and potentially lead to cancer. The bacteria is believed to be pathogenic in both poultry and humans.

Antimicrobial genes were discovered in several isolated sequences of the bacteria, as well as resistance to five families of antibiotics, including penicillin. Coauthor Niyaz Ahmed believes regional farming practices may be responsible for resistance, namely feeding chickens antibiotics indiscriminately to promote weight gain. Dietary trends in India (such as a 12% per year increase in chicken consumption) paired with the prevalence of multidrug-resistant H pullorum signal a major public health crisis could erupt in the area.


American Society for Microbiology. (2016, November 4). Multidrug-resistant bacteria from chickens pose risk to human health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 13, 2016 from