Antimicrobial drug usage pattern in poultry farms in Nigeria: implications for food safety, public health and poultry disease management

Supplementary Files

Table I
Table II
Table III
Table IV


Antibiotic stewardship
Poultry farmers
Imprudent antimicrobial use

How to Cite

Njoga, E. O., Ogugua, A. J., Nwankwo, I. O., Awoyomi, O. J., Okoli, C. E., Buba, D. M., Oyeleye, F. A., Ajibo, F. E., Azor, N., & Ogunniran, T. M. (2021). Antimicrobial drug usage pattern in poultry farms in Nigeria: implications for food safety, public health and poultry disease management. Veterinaria Italiana, 57(1), 5-12.


Good antimicrobial drug stewardship in food‑producing animals boosts productivity and limits transmission of zoonotic pathogens, but the imprudent usage is counterproductive. A nation‑wide survey to determine the pattern of antimicrobial drug usage in poultry was therefore conducted across 12 of the 36 States in Nigeria. The survey was conducted using structured questionnaire designed to elicit information on socio‑demographics, pattern of antimicrobial drug usage and awareness of the consequences of imprudent use of antimicrobials in food‑producing animals, among 2,402 randomly selected poultry farmers. Critically important antimicrobials, belonging to the WHO’s lists of ‘Highest’ and ‘High’ priority antibiotics, were administered sub‑therapeutically for prophylaxis and growth enhancement purposes. Many diseases that warranted the antimicrobial administration were of viral etiology. Only 64.2% of the farmers administered the drug based on veterinary doctors’ prescription. Majority (62.3%) of the farmers did not observe recommended withdrawal period after the drug administration. Awareness of the respondents on consequences of non‑prudent agricultural use of antimicrobials was generally poor. There is need for enlightenment of the farmers on the benefits of prudent agricultural use of antimicrobials. Immediate discontinuation of sale of essential antimicrobials as over‑the‑counter drugs is imperative to safeguard their therapeutic efficacy and curtail spread of antimicrobial‑resistance organisms.


Abonyi F.O. & Njoga E.O. 2019. Prevalence and determinants of gastrointestinal parasite infection in intensively managed pigs in Nsukka agricultural zone, Southeast, Nigeria. J Parasit Dis, 44, 31-39.

Adebowale O.O., Adeyemo O.K., Awoyomi O., Dada R. & Adebowale O. 2016. Antibiotic use and practices in commercial poultry laying hens in Ogun State Nigeria. Rev Elev Med Vet Pays Trop, 69, 41-45.

Adesokan H.K., Agada C.A., Adetunji V.O. & Akanbi IM. 2013. Oxytetracycline and penicillin-G residues in cattle slaughtered in south-western Nigeria: implications for livestock disease management and public health, J S Afr Vet Assoc, 84, 1-5.

Akinwumi O.A., Olatoye I.O., Odunsi A.A., Omojola A.B., Olayeni T.B. & Adedeji M.F. 2014. Evaluation of antibiotic residue on the quality of pork sold for human consumption in Oyo State, South West Nigeria. J Anim Sci Adv, 4, 772-776.

Alhaji N.B., Haruna A.E., Muhammad B., Lawan M.K. & Isola T.O. 2018. Antimicrobial usage assesement in commercial poultry and local birds in North Central Nigeria: Associated pathways and factors for resistance emergence and spread. Prev Vet Med, 154, 139-147.

Chinwe N., Ayogu T., Iroha I., Ejikeugwu C., Nwakaeze E., Oji A.& ILang D. 2014. Cloacal feacal carriage and occurrence of antibiotic resistant Escherichia coli in chicken grown with and without antibiotic supplemented feed. J Vet Med Anim Health, 6, 91-94.

Chowdhury S., Hassan M.M., Alam M., Sattar S., Bari M.S., Saifuddin A.K.M. & Hoque M.A. 2015. Antibiotic residues in milk and egg of commercial and local farms at Chittagoog, Bangladesh. Vet World, 8, 467-471.

Eagar H., Swan G. & Van-Vuuren M.A. 2013. Survey of antimicrobial usage in animals in South Africa with specific reference to food animals. J S Afr Vet Assoc, 83, 1-8.

Ekere S.O., Njoga E.O., Onunkwo J.I & Njoga U.J. 2018 Serosurveillance of Brucella antibody in food animals and role of slaughterhouse workers in spread of Brucella infection in Southeast Nigeria. Vet World, 11, 1171-1178.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 2018. Food and agriculture data. ( accessed on 7 November 2019).

Gassner B. &Wuethrich A. 1994. Pharmacokinetic and toxicological aspects of the medication of beef-type calves with an oral formulation of chloramphenicol palmitate. J Vet Pharmacol Ther, 17, 279-283.

Heise H., Crisan A. & Theuvsen L. 2015. The poultry market in Nigeria: market structures and potential for investment in the market. Int Food Agribusiness Manag Rev, 18, 197-222.

Laxminarayan R., Matsoso P., Pant S., Brower C., Røttingen J.A., Klugman K. & Davies S. 2016. Access to effective antimicrobials: a worldwide challenge. Lancet, 387, 168-175.

Martins da Costa P., Loureiro L. & Matos A.J.F. 2013. Transfer of multidrug-resistant bacteria between intermingled ecological niches: the transfer between humans, animals and the environment. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 10, 278-294.

Nisha A.R. 2008. Antibiotic residues- A global health hazard, Vet World, 4, 375-377.

Njoga E.O., Ariyo O.E. & Nwanta J.A. 2019a. Ethics in veterinary practice in Nigeria: challenges and the way-forward. Niger Vet J, 40, 85 -93

Njoga E.O., Nwankwo I.O. & Ugwunwarua J.C. 2019b. Epidemiology of thermotolerant Campylobacter infection in poultry in Nsukka agricultural zone, Nigeria. Int J One Health, 5, 92-98.

Njoga E.O., Onunkwo J.I., Chinwe C.E., Ugwuoke W., Nwanta J.A. & Chah K.F. 2018. Assessment of antimicrobial drug administration and antimicrobial residues in food animals in Enugu State, Nigeria. Trop Anim Health Prod, 50, 897-902.

O’Neill J. 2014. Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations. ( accessed on 12 April 2019).

Olatoye I.O. & Ehinmowo A.A. 2010. Oxytetracycline residues in edible tissues of cattle slaughtered in Akure, Nigeria. Niger Vet J, 31, 93-102.

Onyenweaku E., Ene-Obong H., Williams I. & Nwaehujor C. 2018. Comparison of nutritional composition of bird egg varieties found in Southern Nigeria: A preliminary study. Food Sci Nutr, 9, 868-879

Rahmatallah N., El-Rhaffouli H., Amine I.L., Sekhsokh Y., Fihri O.F. &, El-Houadfi M. 2018. Consumption of antibacterial molecules in broiler production in Morocco. Vet Med Sci, 4(2), 80-90.

Sarmah A.K., Meyer M.T. & Alistair B.A.B. 2006. A global perspective on the use, sales, exposure pathways, fate and effects of veterinary antibiotics in the environment. Chemosphere, 65, 729-759

Sassanya J.J., Ejobi F., Enyaru J., Olila D. & Ssengoye G. 2008. Public health perspective of penicillin-G residues in cow milk and edible bovine tissues collected form Mbarara and Masaka districts, Uganda. Afr J Anim Biomed Sci, 3, 35-40.

Van den Bogaard A.E. & Stobberingh E.E. 2000. Epidemiology of resistance to Antibiotics - links between animals and humans. Int J Antimicrob Agents, 14, 327-335.

Van den Bogaard A.E., London N., Driessen C. & Stobberingh E.E. 2001. Antibiotic resistant Eschericha coli in poultry, poultry farmers and poultry slaughterers. J Antimicrob.Chemother, 47, 763-771.

World Health Organization (WHO). 2016. Critically important antimicrobials (CIA) list 5th review. ( accessed on 2 December 2019).

Woodward K.N. 1991. Hypersensitivity in humans and exposure to veterinary drugs. Vet Hum Toxicol, 33, 168-172.

World Bank. 2017. Better life farming - unlocking the potentials of smallholder farmers to reach sustainable development goals. ( accessed on 22 October 2019).

Young N.S 2002. Acquired aplastic anemia. Ann Intern Med, 136, 534-546