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2nd March 2015  Content supplied by: European Food Safety Authority

Multi-Drug Resistance in Food Pathogens - EFSA Report

Treatment options for some of the most common food-borne infections are decreasing, as isolates continue to show resistance to antimicrobial drugs. For example, multi-drug resistant isolates of Salmonella continue to spread across Europe. Also, high resistance to ciprofloxacin in Campylobacter isolates in both humans and animals has been reported in some Member States.  Encouragingly, co-resistance to critically important antimicrobials for both bacteria remains low. These are some the findings of the latest EFSA-ECDC European Union Summary Report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in zoonotic and  indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food, which analyses data from 2013.

For the first time, EFSA and ECDC have used similar criteria to interpret data. “Findings in antimicrobial resistance in humans, animals and foods are now more comparable. This is a step forward in the fight against antimicrobial resistance”, said Marta Hugas, Acting Head of EFSA’s Risk Assessment and Scientific Assistance Department.

“The  high levels of resistance to fluoroquinolones observed in Campylobacter  isolates from both humans and broilers are of concern considering that a large proportion of human Campylobacter infections come from handling, preparation  and consumption of broiler meat. Such high resistance levels reduce the effective treatment options for severe human Campylobacter infections”, said  Mike Catchpole, Chief Scientist at ECDC.

Key findings

  • Resistance in Salmonella to commonly used antimicrobials was frequently detected in humans and animals (especially broilers and turkeys) and derived meat  products. Multi-drug resistance was high (in humans 31.8%, in broilers 56.0%, in turkey 73.0%, and in fattening  pigs 37.9%), and the  continued spread of particularly multi-drug resistant clones reported in both human and animal (broilers, pigs and cattle) isolates is of concern.
  • Resistance to commonly used antimicrobials in Campylobacter isolates was  frequently detected in humans and animals (especially broilers, pigs and  cattle). In food, resistance was detected in broiler meat. Resistance to  ciprofloxacin, a critically important antimicrobial, was particularly high in  humans (meaning that treatment options for serious infections with these  zoonotic bacteria are reduced). In Campylobacter  jejuni more than half of both human and broiler isolates (54.6% and 54.5% respectively) were resistant, alongside 35.8% in cattle. In C. coli two thirds of humans and broiler  isolates (66.6% and 68.8% respectively) were resistant along with 31.1% of pig  isolates.
  • Levels  of co-resistance to critically  important antimicrobials in Salmonella were low (in humans 0.2%, in broilers 0.3%, and in fattening pigs and in turkey  there was none). Levels of multi-drug resistance and co-resistance in Campylobacter isolates to critically  important antimicrobials were generally reported at low  to moderate levels in animals (in C. jejuni isolates from broilers and cattle 0.5% and 1.1%, respectively, in C. coli isolates from broilers and  fattening pigs 12.3% and 19.5%, respectively) and at low levels in humans (1.7%  in C. jejuni and 4.1% in C. coli).

The report also includes data on resistance in indicator Escherichia coli,indicator enterococci and  methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, in animals and food.

Read full report here - EU Summary Report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2013



Date Published: 2nd March 2015

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