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Dr Juan Carrique-Mas

Dr Juan Carrique-Mas

Podcast interview

Antimicrobial resistance in poultry production

Many households in Vietnam raise animals for food production, particularly chickens, using large amounts of antimicrobials with no veterinary support, and those antimicrobials find their way into the food chain. The ViParc project conducts intervention trials similar to human clinical trials, to help farmers reduce the level of antimicrobials used when raising chickens.

View podcast transcript

Juan Carrique-Mas

Research fellow


Currently Juan is the PI of the ViParc Project (A Veterinary Intervention to Reduce Antimicrobial Usage in Animal Production) in Vietnam. The ViParc Project aims at helping farmers in the Mekong Delta to raise meat chickens using lower amounts of antimicrobials. Unfortunately, many antimicrobial medicines have lost their effectiveness in the treatment of human and animal diseases, because the bacteria that cause these diseases have become resistant. This phenomenon is called ‘antimicrobial resistance’, and it is of great concern worldwide. We aim to address this by conducting a farm-based ‘trial’, and will be conducted over two and a half years. Since the trial requires a ‘baseline period’ to be followed by an ‘intervention period’. The final result from the trial (i.e. the impact of the intervention) will be fully evaluated at the end of the intervention period.

The proposed intervention will consist of providing veterinary support to farmers assigned to two ‘intervention groups’ during the second phase of the study to help them improve their productivity and reduce disease, therefore reducing also their reliance on antimicrobials. Farmers in the intervention groups will be supported with to free training courses on poultry diseases and poulty farm management. They will also receive veterinary support free of charge. In addition, half of the farmers in the intervention group will be asked not to use antimicrobials in feed. To these farmers we will provide advice on alternatives to control and treat disease is they appear in your flocks as a result of changing the feed.

Because this study is designed as a trial, we necessarily need a ‘control’ group so that we can appropriately compare the results. This control will be a group of farms two which we will not provide any of the veterinary support mentioned above.

Throughout the study we will collect samples (chicken faecal samples using cloacal swabs and boot swabs, and other environmental samples) that will be investigated in the laboratory for antimicrobial resistant in enteric bacteria present in farms. In some farms we will also investigate chickens at the end of production to investigate them for the presence of antimicrobial residues in meat. For all participating farms we will conduct ‘routine’ data collection along the production cycle of  farms to help us understand: (1) antimicrobial usage; (2) disease and productivity in farms; (3) levels of antimicrobial resistance in commensal enteric bacteria (these are bacteria that do not cause any disease problems in chickens) (in some farms only); and (4) residues of antibiotics in the meat of the chickens raised.

In this study we will aim to answer, among others, the following questions:

  • How do farmers use antimicrobial medicines for their chickens (including in feed) and what is their knowledge about these medicines?
  • How do chicken enteric bacteria become antimicrobial resistant after having used antimicrobials?
  • Does meat from chicken farms contain antimicrobial residues?
  • Does veterinary advice help farmers reduce disease in chicken flocks?
  • What is the contribution of hatcheries and inadequate cleaning and disinfection on antimicrobial resistance?

This ViParc project is led by Oxford University Clinical Resarch Unit (OUCRU) in Ho Chi Minh City and is funded by the Wellcome Programme (United Kingdom). The project will be implemented in Dong Thap by the Sub-Department of Animal of Dong Thap province. The project has national and international collaborators. These include Prof. Viet Thu Ho Thi (University of Can Tho), Royal Veterinary College (United Kingdom) (Prof. Jonathan Rushton) as well as the Institue of Poultry Diseases of the University of Berlin (Prof. Hafez M. Hafez). The study has been approved by the People’s Committee in Dong Thap and the review board of the Sub-Department of Animal Health.