The latest joint European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) annual summary report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria reveals that resistance to widely used antibiotics remains a serious public health problem.
The data presented in the report was collected by EU member states during 2014, with the section dealing with resistant bacteria in animals and food focusing on poultry. The specificity of monitoring was improved during the year, allowing better comparison between different countries.
The report shows that resistance to the clinically important antimicrobial drug ciprofloxacin is very high in Campylobacter isolates from broilers (69.8%) and from humans (60.2%), limiting treatment options for infections. Resistance to other antimicrobials was also high in isolates from broilers.
Around 30% of Salmonella isolates from humans and poultry were found to be resistant to tetracyclines, sulphonamides and ampicillin and multi-drug resistance was also common. Certain serovars, notably Salmonella Kentucky and Salmonella Infantis were of special concern as they are often resistant to ciprofloxacin and were also multi-drug resistant. There was also evidence of resistance to colistin – an antibiotic of last resort – in Salmonella and E. coli from poultry.
Resistance levels were found to be highest in eastern and southern Europe, whereas in certain northern European countries, where the use of antimicrobials in animals is generally lower, resistance levels were reduced.
The new report can be accessed in full on the EFSA website here.