AbstractGood 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.
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