July 19, 2018

Positive and Negative Trends in Antimicrobial Resistance

The FDA released its National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) 2011 Executive Report this week, showing both increasing and decreasing antimicrobial resistance levels. The report focuses on resistance to antibiotics that are considered important in human medicine, as well as bacteria that are resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics. Samples are collected from people, food producing animals, and retail meat source, then tested.

AntibioticsThe key findings include: 85% of non-typhoidal Salmonella collected from people had no antibiotic resistance. In people, the five-drug resistance pattern discovered in Salmonella Typhimurium declined to 19.5% in 2011 from its peak of 35.1% in 1997. Salmonella resistance to ciprofloaxcin, one of the antibiotics used to treat those infections in people, is very low. But multi-drug resistance in Salmonella from retail poultry and meats generally increased.

Campylobacter resistance to the fluoroquinolone ciprofloaxcin has increased slightly in isolates from humans since 2005. That drug is not approved for use in poultry. Resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, another important drug class for Salmonella infections, rose among isolates from retail ground turkey between 2008 and 2011 and among certain Salmonella serotypes in cattle between 2009 and 2011. In April 2012, FDA removed approval of certain uses of cephalosporin drugs in cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys.

Antibiotics are still used at sub therapeutic levels in farm animals to prevent disease, although the government is rescinding approval of that use for growth promotion. Many scientists and organizations link this use of antibiotics in farm animals to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and criticize the government for not doing more to address this worldwide problem.

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