Household Animal and Human Medicine Use and Animal Husbandry Practices in Rural Bangladesh: Risk Factors for Emerging Zoonotic Disease and Antibiotic Resistance

Zoonoses Public Health. 2015 Nov;62(7):569-78. doi: 10.1111/zph.12186. Epub 2015 Mar 19.


Animal antimicrobial use and husbandry practices increase risk of emerging zoonotic disease and antibiotic resistance. We surveyed 700 households to elicit information on human and animal medicine use and husbandry practices. Households that owned livestock (n = 265/459, 57.7%) reported using animal treatments 630 times during the previous 6 months; 57.6% obtained medicines, including antibiotics, from drug sellers. Government animal healthcare providers were rarely visited (9.7%), and respondents more often sought animal health care from pharmacies and village doctors (70.6% and 11.9%, respectively), citing the latter two as less costly and more successful based on past performance. Animal husbandry practices that could promote the transmission of microbes from animals to humans included the following: the proximity of chickens to humans (50.1% of households reported that the chickens slept in the bedroom); the shared use of natural bodies of water for human and animal bathing (78.3%); the use of livestock waste as fertilizer (60.9%); and gender roles that dictate that females are the primary caretakers of poultry and children (62.8%). In the absence of an effective animal healthcare system, villagers must depend on informal healthcare providers for treatment of their animals. Suboptimal use of antimicrobials coupled with unhygienic animal husbandry practices is an important risk factor for emerging zoonotic disease and resistant pathogens.

Keywords: Livestock; animal husbandry; antibiotic resistance; one health; emerging zoonotic disease; non-human antibiotic use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Animal Diseases / microbiology
  • Animal Husbandry / methods*
  • Animal Husbandry / statistics & numerical data
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Chickens
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / microbiology
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / transmission*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Water Microbiology
  • Young Adult
  • Zoonoses / microbiology
  • Zoonoses / psychology*
  • Zoonoses / transmission*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents