‘We are entering a world where infections are difficult or impossible to treat’: AMR and the food chain


By Jenny Eagle | Source: ​EFSA & ECDC​

via Food Navigator | 06-Mar-2019


The European Commission is calling for action to tackle the rise of antimicrobial resistance in animals, saying it’s a threat against human health, animal health and the environment.


‘Alarm bells should be ringing’, following a report ​by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), said Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.


Limited options


The research claims resistance to fluoroquinolones (such as ciprofloxacin) is so high in Campylobacter​ bacteria in some countries, antimicrobials no longer work when treating severe campylobacteriosis cases.


Salmonella​ in humans is becoming resistant to fluoroquinolones in most countries today and in Campylobacter​, high to extremely high proportions of bacteria are resistant to ciprofloxacin and tetracyclines.


This means thousands of patients across the EU have limited options when it comes to treating severe infections.


Andrea Wurz​, health communication specialist, (ECDC​), said the joint ECDC-EFSA report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food, is based on 2017 data.


“AMR (antimicrobial resistance) in zoonoses shows no signs of slowing down and the antimicrobials used to treat diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, such as campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis, are becoming less and less effective​,” she said.


Zoonoses are infections that are transmissible between animals and humans.


FoodNavigator published ‘The European Union summary report​ on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food in 2016’, highlighting emerging issues and claiming AMR is one of the biggest threats to public health. 


“This year’s update refers to 2017 data; the findings are not significantly different from last year but confirm the situation is not improving. The fact that in several countries some antibiotics have stopped working altogether is not new but is persistent,​” added Wurz.


EFSA has also created an interactive infographic​ where consumers can analyse per country, per source (human/animal) and per antibiotic.


Bacterial resistance to antimicrobials in food-producing animals can spread to people via food-borne routes, water, environmental contamination, or through direct animal contact. Campylobacter, Salmonella and some strains of Escherichia coli are examples of zoonotic bacteria that can infect people by the food-borne route.


The report claims infections with bacteria that are resistant may result in treatment failures or lead to second-line antimicrobials for therapy.


The commensal bacterial flora can also form a reservoir of resistance genes, which may be transferred between bacterial species, including organisms causing disease in humans and animals.


Laboratory methods ...


One Health ...