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Drug residues in foods of animal origin are drugs and their metabolites which are found in edible
tissues and milk of animals following their medication with specific drugs whose prescribed
withdrawal period are not observed. Chloramphenicol (CAP) residues in the food chain are
potential hazards to public health. Such hazards include: allergy, antibacterial resistance,
carcinogenicity, genotoxicity, aplastic anemia and leukemia. Globally, aplastic anemia affects 1
in 10,000 to 50,000 patients receiving a typical course of CAP therapy and about 280,000
patients are susceptible to the development of aplastic anemia in Nigeria.9,10 CAP has therefore
been banned globally by FAO/WHO and considered a drug of zero-tolerance in food-producing
animals. This study was carried out to determine the occurrence of CAP residues in chicken eggs
in the FCT and to assess the usage and awareness of its ban amongst poultry farmers.
A cross-sectional survey using structured questionnaires was conducted on poultry farmers and a
survey of commercial chicken eggs from poultry farms and government owned markets in FCT,
Nigeria was also carried out using CAP ELISA kits to test for the presence of CAP in eggs.
Frequencies and proportions were obtained by univariate analysis and odds ratios and Fischer‟s
exact p-values at 95% confidence intervals were also obtained using OpenEpi and EpiInfo
version 3.5.3 softwares.
Of the 57 questionnaire respondents, 30 (52.6%) were farm managers out of which 48 (84.2%)
were males, and 27 (47.4%) were between ages 36-50 years. Pooled egg samples (10 eggs make
a sample, n=288 i.e. 2880 eggs) were analyzed using CAP ELISA kits and 20 (7%) of the
samples tested positive for CAP residues. Poultry farmers use both human (8.8%) and veterinary
drug preparations containing CAP (43.9%) on their birds. Most poultry farmers (71.9%) were not
aware that CAP is not recommended for use in food producing animals. There is a strong
association (OR=14.8) between human CAP and its detection by ELISA test (Fischer‟s Exact
P<0.05). Veterinarians are more likely (OR=1.4) to be aware of the CAP ban, while poultry
attendants are less likely (OR=0.9; Fitscher‟s Exact P=0.4) to be aware.
There is an influx of CAP residue-containing eggs from within FCT and also from other States
into FCT with 7% prevalence. Poultry farmers using both human and veterinary CAP
preparations were not aware of its ban for use in food-producing animals. There is therefore the
need for drug residue surveillance and education of poultry farmers on the prohibition of CAP in
food animals and its hazards to public health.
Keywords: Chloramphenicol Residues, chicken eggs, ELISA, FCT-Nigeria
CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION
Drug residues in foods of animal origin are drugs and their metabolites which are found in
edible tissues and milk of animals following their medication with specific drugs whose
prescribed withdrawal period are not observed. 1, 2 Drug residues eventually make their way
to the food chain where they can potentially pose a risk to human health. Such health
problems include development of allergic reactions, emergence of multiple resistant strains
of pathogenic bacteria, development of cancer and mutations, aplastic anemia and leukemia
in humans.3 This has resulted in the global ban of the use of chloramphenicol in Veterinary
Medicine to non-food use due to potential public health risks posed by its traces in edible
tissues and was therefore considered a drug with an established zero-tolerance.4
Chloramphenicol (CAP) was first isolated in 1947 from the soil bacterium Streptomyces
venezuelae, and synthetic production began in 1949.5 Due to its outstanding antibacterial
properties, CAP is an often used antibiotic in the production of milk, meat and eggs. It is an
inexpensive broad-spectrum antibiotic recommended for the treatment of salmonella
infections and for the prevention of secondary infections associated with chronic respiratory
disease and blue comb in poultry.6 It is well absorbed by both oral and parenteral routes.
CAP usually acts as a bacteriostatic, but at higher concentrations or against some very
susceptible organisms it can be bactericidal. It is used in the treatment of human infection
with Salmonella typhi and other forms of salmonellosis and other threatening infections of
the central nervous system and respiratory tract.7
In Nigeria, many poultry farmers use CAP to control poultry diseases because of its claimed
efficacy. 8 This situation could result from a state of very low and absolute lack of awareness
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