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Using Phages for the replacement of antibiotics, and reduction of drug resistant nontyphoidal Salmonella, in poultry farms in Kenya

Infectious diseases associated with poultry farming and egg production pose high health risks to farmers and consumers. They can also negatively affect the poultry industry of any given country. In Kenya, poultry farming represents about 30% of the total agricultural contribution to GDP. Salmonella infections in poultry farms are currently controlled using antibiotics. Antibiotics are also used at sub-therapeutic doses to increase the growth rate of chickens and to improve feed efficiency. An estimated 75% of antibiotics administered to poultry are released into the environment, and this has been shown to contribute to the emergence of antimicrobial resistance. Antimicrobial resistance is a growing concern in Salmonella and poses increasing threats. Therefore, alternatives to antibiotics are needed.

The goal of this project, implemented in collaboration with the International Livestock Research Institute and Université Laval, is to investigate bacteriophage-based (entities that destroy bacteria) solutions to kill Salmonella strains isolated from poultry farms in Kenya. The project will collect Salmonella from poultry farms and slaughterhouses in Kenya and type strains for antibiotic resistance genes. They will then test known bacteriophages for their capacity to lyse (disintegrate) selected Kenyan Salmonella strains, and isolate new bacteriophages from Kenya with lytic activity towards Kenyan Salmonella strains. Researchers will then test combinations of bacteriophages in a Salmonella infection model in chickens, conduct field trials using bacteriophages in selected smallholder farms, and finally, assess the impact of bacteriophage technology and adoption by women chicken farmers.

This project includes new commercial products that are alternatives to antibiotics for the prevention and control of infections that could be adapted and accepted by the Kenyan poultry industry. The research team expects to develop a phage delivery system to improve protection against Salmonella strains isolated from Kenya.
InnoVet-AMR is aimed at reducing the emerging risk that antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in animals poses to global health and food security. It is a four-year, CA$27.9 million partnership between IDRC and the UK government’s Global AMR Innovation Fund, part of the Department of Health and Social Care.

Project ID
Project Status
33 months
IDRC Officer
Illiassou Hamidou Soumana
Total Funding
CA$ 3,308,000.00
Institution Country
Project Leader
Nicholas Svitek
International Livestock Research Institute/Institut international de recherche sur l'élevage/Instituto Internacional de Investigaciones Pecuarias
Institution Country
Project Leader
Sylvain Moineau
Université Laval

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