EFSA infographic on antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the European Union
The European Union is trying to fight antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

PARMA, Italy – A new report from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) states that antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are on the rise in humans, food and animals. The latest findings are from an annual Europe-wide report by EFSA and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Among the key findings:

  • Campylobacter bacteria showed high to extremely high resistance to ciproflaxin in broilers as well as in bacteria from humans. High to extremely high resistance to nalidixic acid and tetracyclines was reported in broilers. Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported foodborne illness in the EU, according to the report.
  • Resistance to widely used antimicrobials also was detected in Salmonella from humans and poultry. Multi-drug resistance in humans was high in humans and especially high in broiler and turkey meat, EFSA said in its report. Salmonella Kentucky and Salmonella Infantis were especially troubling because those pathogens showed a high level of resistance to ciproflaxin and high multi-drug resistance. Salmonella is the second-most commonly reported foodborne illness in the EU.


“Every year in the EU, infections caused by antimicrobial resistance lead to about 25,000 deaths – but the threat is not confined to Europe,” Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said in a statement . “This is a global problem that requires a global solution.”

Researchers found evidence of resistance to colistin in Salmonella and E. coli among poultry in the EU. “This is worrying because it means that this last-resort drug may soon no longer be effective for treating severe human infections with Salmonella,” said Mike Catchpole, chief scientist for ECDC.

The report also noted regional differences in antimicrobial resistance. Eastern and Southern Europe had the highest levels of antimicrobial resistance, while northern Europe had the lowest levels of resistance in bacteria from poultry, “particularly in countries with low use of antimicrobials in animals,” said Marta Hugas, head of EFSA’s Biological Hazards and Contaminants unit.