'An ongoing public threat'

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today that antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs “is an ongoing public health threat and continued to show positive and challenging trends in 2013,” according to human illness data that the CDC posted online. While efforts are underway to curb the injudicious use of antibiotics, antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne germs continue to cause an estimated 440,000 illnesses in the US each year, the CDC states.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), which tracks changes in the antibiotic resistance of six types of common foodborne germs found in ill people, retail meats and food animals, tested more than 5,000 germs in 2013 from sick people for antibiotic resistance and compared them with previous years’ data to assess changes in resistance patterns. Here’s what NARMS found:

• Multidrug resistance (resistance to three or more classes of antibiotics) in Salmonella overall stayed steady, remaining at 10 percent of infections. NARMS called this “good news.”

• Resistance in some types of Salmonella is increasing. For example, multidrug resistance in a common Salmonella serotype called I4,[5],12:i:- was 46 percent, more than double the rate from two years before. In the US, resistance in this serotype to four drugs (ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfonamides and tetracycline) rose from 18 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2013. Human illness with this serotype has been linked to animal exposure and consumption of pork or beef, including meats purchased from live animal markets.

• One in four Campylobacter, another germ transmitted by food samples from sick people, is still resistant to quinolones like ciprofloxacin.

The CDC said the fiscal year 2016 President’s Budget requests additional funding for the CDC to improve early detection and tracking of drug-resistant Salmonella and other urgent antibiotic-resistance threats. CDC said the proposed initiative would allow it to check nearly every Salmonella sample and many more Campylobacter samples for resistance more quickly.

The 2013 NARMS Annual Human Isolates Report is available on  the CDC website. 

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