BfR detects carbapenem-resistant bacteria in livestock

| January 16, 2014

PigsThe German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has announced the detection in livestock of enterobacteria that are capable of producing the enzyme carbapenemase and are therefore likely to be resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. This is the first time that carbapenemase-producing bacteria have been found in farm animals in Germany.

Carbapenems are used in clinical treatment of human infections and are classified by the WHO as “critically important” antimicrobials. They are intended for use only when other antibiotics have proved ineffective as a last resort. Bacteria with the ability to produce carbapenemase could cause dangerous infections that cannot be treated with carbapenems, leaving very few options for treatment.

The BfR is concerned that the discovery of these bacteria in samples taken from livestock populations could lead to the spread of carbapenem-resistance through the food chain, because resistance can be transferred to other bacterial species, including foodborne pathogens.

More details can be found (in German) here.

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