FDA: Antimicrobial resistance levels have improved

by Erica Shaffer
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WASHINGTON – Antimicrobial resistance continues to remain low for most human infections, and measurable improvements have been made in lowering resistance levels of major foodborne pathogens, the US Food and Drug Administration said in its 2014 National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Integrated Report.

For example, the prevalence of Salmonella in both retail chicken meat, at 9.1 percent, and ground turkey, at 5.5 percent, was at its lowest level since testing began in 2002, according to the NARMS report. The prevalence of Campylobacter in samples of retail chicken meat has gradually declined to 33 percent, which also is the lowest since testing for the pathogen began.

Additionally, resistance to ceftriaxone, an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections, continued to decline in non-typhoidal Salmonella from all NARMS sources with the exception of retail turkey meat isolates, where resistance rose slightly, according to the report. Ceftriaxone resistance reached its lowest level (7.6 percent) since 1999 in Salmonella isolates from cattle carcasses collected at processing plants. In 2014, ceftriaxone resistance in human Salmonella Heidelberg isolates was 8.5 percent, down from a high of 24 percent in 2010.

Other findings include:

  • Approximately 80 percent of human Salmonella isolates are not resistant to any of the tested antibiotics, and resistance for three critically-important drugs (ceftriaxone, azithromycin, and ciprofloxacin) in human non-typhoidal Salmonella isolates remained below 3 percent.
  • The percentage of human isolates resistant to at least ampicillin, chloramphenicol, streptomycin, sulfonamides and tetracyclines (ACSSuT) continued a steady decline to 3.1 percent, the lowest since testing began in 1996 (8.7 percent).
  • No resistance has been detected in Enterococcus bacteria isolates to daptomycin, linezolid and vancomycin.

The 2014 National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) Integrated Report highlights antimicrobial resistance patterns in bacteria isolated from humans, retail meats, and animals at slaughter. NARMS screens non-typhoidal Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus.

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