New class of antibiotics may be capable of killing superbugs

When I was younger my mother got me a job in a hospital as a nurse’s aide while I finished my studies at university. As part of my duties I had to ensure patients that had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) were well taken care of. I was in my second year of University at that time and was vaguely familiar with this bug. Then came vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE).
I left.

Anne Stych of Biz Women reports

Scientists studying microorganisms living in soil have discovered a new class of antibiotics that could kill deadly superbugs without triggering resistance.
The discovery leads researchers to believe there’s “a reservoir of antibiotics in the environment we haven’t accessed yet,” said Sean Brady, an associate professor at Rockefeller University in New York, who led the study.
The research, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, said the newly-discovered antibiotics kill superbugs including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a potentially deadly infection that is resistant to several antibiotics.
A team led by Brady discovered the new class of antibiotics, called malacidins, while cloning and sequencing DNA from microorganisms in soil samples contributed by people across the United States, The Washington Post reported.
They were looking for microorganisms with a known gene that acts as an “on/off” switch and makes it more difficult for microbes to develop antibiotic resistance, per the Post.
The World Health Organization (WHO) last month called antibiotic resistance a “serious situation” worldwide in both low-income and high-income countries.
The organization’s research showed that resistance to commonly-used antibiotics varied widely among the 22 reporting countries, with resistance to penicillin in bacterial pneumonia cases ranging from zero to 51 percent, while E coli bacteria antibiotic resistance levels ranged from 8 percent to 65.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year at least 2 million people in the United States become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. At least 23,000 people die as a direct result, while many more die of conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.
Worldwide, deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections are predicted to reach10 million a year by 2050, per the Post.
“Some of the world’s most common — and potentially most dangerous — infections are proving drug-resistant,“ said Dr . Marc Sprenger, director of the WHO Antimicrobial Resistance Secretariat. “And most worrying of all, pathogens don’t respect national borders. That’s why WHO is encouraging all countries to set up good surveillance systems for detecting drug resistance that can provide data to this global system.”
Researchers said although the discovery is promising and reveals the untapped biodiversity of our ecosystem, it will take years for the new class of antibiotics to be developed for practical use.

 

We’re all hosts on a viral planet virome edition

The X-files movie was on the other night – the 1998 one – featuring bad dialogue, overwrought music, mysterious scientists and a mutated virus originally delivered by extraterrestrials.

bacteriophageAt the same time I was reading how scientists at the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) in Spain have carried out a comprehensive analysis of several viromes from different habitats to explore whether bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) harbor antibiotic resistance genes.

The team demonstrated that while human-associated viromes do not or rarely carry resistance genes, viromes from non-human sources (e.g., pig feces, raw sewage, and freshwater and marine environments) contain a large reservoir of resistance genes. Their work is described in the journal Environmental Pollution (1).

“These findings suggest that phages may play a more significant role in the acquisition and mobilization of antibiotic resistance genes than previously expected”, says Dr. Jose L. Balcazar, a Ramon y Cajal research scientist and senior author of the study.

Of course they do: We’re all hosts on a viral planet.

In this study, several viromes (community of viruses) from humans, animals, and different environments worldwide were screened for sequences similar to those associated with antibiotic resistance genes. The results showed that genes encoding major facilitator superfamily transporters and beta-lactamases were found in all analysed viromes regardless their origin. The presence of these resistance genes in bacteriophages is of particular concern, because these genes may eventually be transferred to bacteria, making them resistant to antibiotics. Considering that bacteriophages have the potential to transfer genetic material between bacteria, they play an important role in the evolution and ecology of bacterial species. However, the contribution of bacteriophages to the acquisition and spread of antibiotic resistance has been partially explored in environmental settings. So these findings suggest that the role of bacteriophages should be taken into account in the development of strategies for tackling antibiotic resistance. This work was funded by the first joint call of the Water Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

Published articles

Lekunberri I., Subirats J., Borrego C.M., Balcazar J.L. (2016) “Exploring the contribution of bacteriophages to antibiotic resistance”. Environmental Pollution. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.11.059

 “Wastewater treatment plant discharges can promote the development of antibiotic resistance in streams” [PDF]. Science for Environment Policy of the European Commission DG Environment News Alert Service.

I f*cking love science and we’re all host on a DNA planet: Plasmids be getting laid

Plasmids are pieces of independent DNA that often carry multiple antibiotic resistance genes. Plasmids can jump from one bacterium to another, spreading that resistance. A team of French investigators now shows that bacteria that acquire plasmids containing resistance genes rarely lose them. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

plasmidIn the study, the investigators focused on plasmids carrying resistance to extended spectrum cephalosporins. “Cephalosporins are antimicrobials that are critical to human health, as they are used to treat urinary tract, and other infections,” said corresponding author Isabelle Kempf, D.V.M., head of the Mycoplasmology-Bacteriology Unit, the Agence Nationale de Securité Sanitaire, Université de Bretagne Loire, Ploufragan, France. The gene for resistance to extended spectrum cephalosporins is frequently carried on plasmids, often along with multiple genes for resistance to other antimicrobials.

The investigators inoculated pigs with an extended spectrum cephalosporin-resistant, non-pathogenic strain of Escherichia coli, and placed the pigs in pens with non-inoculated pigs. A plasmid in the E. coli carried the gene for extended spectrum cephalosporin resistance, as well as four other resistance genes. The investigators collected fecal samples from the pigs, at different time points following inoculation. From these, they grew 353 isolates of E. coli.

During the experiment, the pigs did not receive extended spectrum cephalosporin antibiotics. That meant that there was no selection pressure that might have favored the persistence of extended spectrum cephalosporin resistance in the bacterial populations. Nonetheless, all but three of the 353 isolates carried the resistance gene.

“Our results show that once a plasmid encoding resistance genes is transferred to a bacterial host, the probability that the bacteria will lose the encoded resistances is quite low, even absent a selective pressure,” said Kempf

“Plasmids have developed sophisticated mechanisms to ensure their transmission to daughter cells during cell division,” Kempf explained. “A better knowledge of these mechanisms and development of innovative tools to counteract them could result in new strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance.”
believe.science.hilary

Source poultry with lower loads of Salmonella: FDA NARMS retail meat report recites FightBac BS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a new interim report that measures antimicrobial resistance in Salmonella isolated from raw retail meat and poultry collected through the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).

AnimalHouse.satanThe 2014-2015 Retail Meat Interim Report contains data from January 2014 – June 2015. It focuses only on Salmonella, a major pathogen of concern in foodborne disease outbreaks. Information includes serotype distribution, prevalence by food source and state, selected resistance patterns, and a list of all the identified antimicrobial resistance genes. To provide data in a timelier manner, the FDA intends to issue retail meat interim reports twice per year. In this report FDA also includes, for the first time, whole-genome sequencing data for Salmonella as a new component of routine NARMS surveillance practices and has placed all the isolate-level data on its website.

NARMS was established in 1996 as a partnership between the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to track antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria for drugs that are considered important in human medicine, including whether they are multidrug resistant (resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics). NARMS is critically important for monitoring trends in antimicrobial resistance among foodborne bacteria collected from humans, retail meats and food animals. In particular, it assists the FDA in making data-driven decisions on the approval of safe and effective antimicrobial drugs for animals.

The retail meat arm of the NARMS program collects samples of grocery store chicken, ground turkey, ground beef and pork chops, and tests for non-typhoidal Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus, to determine whether such bacteria are resistant to various antibiotics used in human and veterinary medicine. Enterococcus and most E. coli are not considered major foodborne pathogens but are included because they are helpful in understanding how resistance occurs and spreads.

Consumers can help protect themselves from foodborne bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant bacteria, by following four basic food safety tips: clean, separate, cook, chill. Learn more at http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/.

2014-2015 Retail Meat Interim Report

In many important categories, encouraging improvements found in 2011 continued to be evident in the latest data.

The prevalence of Salmonella in retail poultry is at its lowest level since testing began in 2002. In ground turkey, the prevalence of Salmonella has declined from a high of 19% in 2008 to 6% in 2014. In retail chicken over the same time period, it has dropped from 15% to 9%.

FunkyChickenHiSalmonella resistance to ceftriaxone (an important antibiotic used to treat seriously ill patients) from chicken sources continued to decline steadily from a high of 38% in retail chicken meats in 2009 to 18% in 2014, and 5% during the first half of 2015. In ground turkey isolates, ceftriaxone resistance was detected in 7% of 2014 isolates and 4% of 2015 isolates collected through June, which represents an 80% decline since 2011 when resistance peaked at 22%.

Fluoroquinolones like ciprofloxacin are classified as critically important for the treatment of Salmonella infections. Ciprofloxacin resistance was absent in Salmonella from poultry and beef, although a single isolate was found in pork.

All Salmonella from retail meats were susceptible to azithromycin, another important antibiotic recommended for the treatment of Salmonella and other intestinal pathogens.

Multidrug resistance in Salmonella continued to show a downward drift in chicken and turkey from 2011 levels of 45% and 50%, respectively, to 20% and 36% in June 2015.

Findings of Concern

FDA identified the first instance of ciprofloxacin resistance in an isolate from retail pork, and identified the genes associated with this resistance for future tracking (see below).

One ceftriaxone-resistant retail chicken isolate from 2014 had the extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) gene blaCTX-M-65. This is the first time this important class of resistance gene was detected in the U.S. This ESBL gene causes resistance to β-lactam antibiotics, including third generation cephalosporins, resulting in fewer treatment options for infected patients.

While only three isolates of Salmonella serotype Dublin were recovered from meats (ground beef) in 2014, they exhibited extensive resistance patterns as in the past, showing resistance to 9-12 of 14 drugs tested.

Whole Genome Sequencing

Whole genome sequencing (WGS) has ushered in a new age in infectious disease science, with the power to greatly enhance diagnosis, tracking and treatment. Because WGS has become an inexpensive and rapid tool for characterizing bacteria, it has the potential to replace a number of long-standing laboratory methods such as biochemical tests to identify species, and the subtyping methods of serotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, each of which requires specialized training and separate lab processes. Whole genome sequence data are published for all 271 retail meat isolates from 2014 and 114 Salmonella isolated in the first half of 2015. All of the WGS data for NARMS isolates are now publicly available in GenBank bioproject PRJNA290865.

WGS data can be used to predict antimicrobial resistance for a number of bacteria, including the foodborne pathogens Salmonella, Campylobacter, and E. coli. In addition, WGS data reveal the range of genes causing resistance to a particular antibiotic. FDA has included comprehensive genetic data for the first time in a NARMS report, listing the antimicrobial resistance genes and resistance-associated mutations for Salmonella. Some notable findings from WGS in this report include:

WGS helped identify antibiotic resistant genes in the form of diverse quinolone resistance mechanisms. In addition to two isolates with well-known DNA gyrase mutations associated with quinolone resistance, two isolates possessed the plasmid-mediated qnr genes, one with qnrS and one with qnrB. This analysis revealed that the single ciprofloxacin-resistant isolate from pork carried the qnrS gene. The presence of such plasmid-associated resistance genes is of particular concern due to the potential for transmissibility to other strains of Salmonella. This appears to be the first report of qnr genes present in retail meat Salmonella isolated in the United States. Despite these findings, Salmonella largely remained susceptible to ciprofloxacin and other first line human clinical therapies, including azithromycin, during 2014 and the first half of 2015.

As noted above, 2014 was the first year FDA found a blaCTX-M-65 ESBL in Salmonella from a retail meat sample in the United States. This was identified by WGS and was seen in a single isolate. Studies are ongoing to see if this finding points to a broader distribution of this important trait in Salmonella from other sources.

The WGS data has allowed FDA, for the first time, to understand the mechanisms underlying each of the resistance phenotypes observed, and how they differ by source. For instance, the predominant β-lactamases in ground turkey and pork chop isolates were blaTEM enzymes, whereas in retail chicken and ground beef isolates, blaCMY were more prevalent.blaCMY genes are generally associated with more extended activity, and confer resistance to third-generation cephalosporins, important drugs in the treatment of Salmonella infections. The tetA gene predominated among tetracycline resistant isolates from retail chicken, ground turkey, and ground beef isolates, while in pork chop isolates tetB was most common. Additional genetic information over multiple years will be necessary to determine whether these differences are stable over time and may be used to help determine the source of resistant infections in isolates recovered from humans.

All the isolate-level data, including links to the WGS data, can be found at 
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/AntimicrobialResistance/NationalAntimicrobialResistanceMonitoringSystem/ucm458213.htm  

Antibiotic use in animals must be curbedd

In a paper published today in medical journal The Lancet, the authors argue that excessive use of the medication in animals is contributing as much to the global antibiotic resistance crisis as overuse in humans.

fda-antibiotics-agricultureThe majority of antibiotics produced by pharmaceutical companies are used in animals rather than humans and there have been outbreaks of antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals that have been traced back to bacteria from animals. Although antibiotic use in animals in Europe is tightly regulated, it is less controlled in other parts of the world.

One common means by which antibiotic resistant bugs pass from animal to humans is through eating meat, explained Dr Luke Moore, co-author of the study, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London: “If you eat a chicken that contains an antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as E.coli – and the chicken is not cooked properly – the bacteria can lodge in your gut. There is then a risk of it escaping from your intestines, and perhaps travelling to your gallbladder or urinary tract, where it may potentially trigger an infection that doesn’t respond to antibiotics.

“Meat tissue may contain molecules of the antibiotic drug itself. These molecules can travel to your intestines and increase antibiotic resistance in the bacteria that naturally reside in your gut,” he added.

It is not just meat that can carry antibiotic resistance – crops and vegetables can harbour them too, from animal manure used as fertiliser. The researchers suggest that a number of strategies are needed to tackle the issue.

“Farmers have an ever-growing population to feed, and a shrinking area of land to generate food, so they need to meet these demands. We need to not only encourage the use of vaccination, as this would prevent antibiotic use, but also think about how to make immunisation more cost effective for farmers.

We also need to investigate developing alternative methods of killing bacteria – in both humans and animals,” said Dr Moore.

The new paper also reveals that antibiotic resistant bugs will continue to thrive for many years across the globe, even if we immediately stop all use of antibiotics.

The publication is one of a series examining how antimicrobial resistance is being tackled worldwide, and outlining future priorities for researchers and policymakers. 

The series is launched today at Imperial, at an event hosted by Imperial’s NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance, which is led by Professor Alison Holmes from the Department of Medicine.

Professor Holmes, who is also lead author on the Imperial paper, said: “Our understanding of the mechanisms by which bacteria and other pathogens acquire resistance to drugs suggests that there will be no single solution to the global threat of antimicrobial resistance. We need to tackle this problem synergistically, on multiple fronts, which will require an unprecedented level of international cooperation.”

abattoirs-anc-494x190Crucially, adds Professor Holmes, researchers and policymakers need to focus their efforts across humans, animals and agriculture, in order to fight the rising tide of resistance.

“We must adopt a ‘One Health’ approach globally, recognising that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interconnected, and ensuring that any policies to tackle resistance address each of these areas.”

 Abstract

To combat the threat to human health and biosecurity from antimicrobial resistance, an understanding of its mechanisms and drivers is needed. Emergence of antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms is a natural phenomenon, yet antimicrobial resistance selection has been driven by antimicrobial exposure in health care, agriculture, and the environment. Onward transmission is affected by standards of infection control, sanitation, access to clean water, access to assured quality antimicrobials and diagnostics, travel, and migration. Strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistance by removing antimicrobial selective pressure alone rely upon resistance imparting a fitness cost, an effect not always apparent. Minimising resistance should therefore be considered comprehensively, by resistance mechanism, microorganism, antimicrobial drug, host, and context; parallel to new drug discovery, broad ranging, multidisciplinary research is needed across these five levels, interlinked across the health-care, agriculture, and environment sectors. Intelligent, integrated approaches, mindful of potential unintended results, are needed to ensure sustained, worldwide access to effective antimicrobials.

 Understanding the mechanisms and drivers of antimicrobial resistance

The Lancet

Alison H Holmes, Luke S P Moore, Arnfinn Sundsfjord, Martin Steinbakk, Sadie Regmi, Abhilasha Karkey, Philippe J Guerin, Laura J V Piddock

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2900473-0/abstract

But what about food safety? Or peer review? Most US restaurant chains get failing grades on antibiotic use in new report

Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread were given high marks for their efforts – but they suck at microbial food safety — to eliminate the use of antibiotics from the meat they serve, while fast-food giants Burger King, Domino’s and Wendy’s are among those given failing grades, according to a new scorecard released Tuesday by a coalition of environmental and consumer advocacy groups.

chipotle.ad.2Panera, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s have all adopted policies that either limit the use of medically important antibiotics, or prohibit any antibiotic use in the production of the meat they serve.

But the report notes Panera and Chipotle, which were given A grades, are the only chains that publicly affirm that the majority of their meat and poultry offered is produced without routine use of antibiotics.

And that’s why grades suck. Especially those published as an easy news hook in the absence of peer review.

 

NARMS Now: Tool shows changes in foodborne pathogen antibiotic resistance

A new interactive tool from CDC makes it easier and quicker to see how antibiotic resistance for four germs spread commonly through food—Campylobacter, E. coli O157, Salmonella, and Shigella—has changed over the past 18 years.

Each year in the United States, antibiotic-resistant germs cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths. Antibiotic-resistant infecnarms.now.fbitions from germs spread commonly through food cause an estimated 440,000 of those illnesses.

The NARMS Now: Human Data tool contains information from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS).

NARMS Now: Human Data allows users to access antibiotic resistance data by bacterial serotype, antibiotic, year (1996-2013), and geographic region. Users can view data on an interactive map or in tables. NARMS Now: Human Data plans to provide access to the most up-to-date antibiotic resistance results by uploading data regularly.

NARMS Now: Human Data can be used to:

–  Inform regulatory agency action.

FDA withdrew approval for Enrofloxacin (a fluoroquinolone) used in poultry after the data showed an increase in fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter infections in humans.

–  Examine the geographic distribution of resistance.

Researchers have used the data to investigate the geographic distribution of multidrug-resistant Salmonella Typhimurium and Newport infections in the United States.

narmsnow-digitaldevices_cropMonitor changing trends in resistance.

Investigators are using NARMS data to help uncover the reason for increasing antibiotic resistance in a type of Salmonella, I 4,[5],12,:i:-, which has emerged recently in the United States.

Timely Access to Data

CDC developed NARMS Now: Human Data in response to requests from Congress, consumer groups, academia, and the public for timely access to data on antibiotic resistance. The tool is an important step towards President Obama’s Open Government Initiative to foster openness in government and establish a culture of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.

The FDA, on behalf of all the NARMS partner agencies, is also making data available online, NARMS Now: Integrated Data. That data helps users to access antibiotic resistance information from isolates from retail meat and animals, and will soon add Campylobacter and non-typhoidal Salmonella from humans.

US CDC says antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs is an ongoing threat

It’s nice that the scientists and PR-types at CDC, who for decades insisted that foodborne illness be publicly attributed to bacteria or viruses or parasites, out of scientific accuracy, are now referring to them as germs.

Family guy barfPeople really care about what is going to make them barf, not what it’s called.

Antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs, an ongoing public health threat, continued to show both positive and challenging trends in 2013, according to human illness data posted online today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Efforts are underway to curb the injudicious use of antibiotics, but each year, antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne germs cause an estimated 440,000 illnesses in the United States.

The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) tracks changes in the antibiotic resistance of six types of common foodborne germs found in ill people, retail meats, and food animals. In 2013, NARMS tested more than 5,000 germs from sick people for antibiotic resistance and compared them with previous years’ data to assess changes in resistance patterns.

Among the findings in the new NARMS report on human illnesses:

The good news is that multidrug resistance (resistance to 3 or more classes of antibiotics) in Salmonella overall stayed steady, remaining at 10 percent of infections.

However, resistance in some types of Salmonella is increasing. For example, multidrug resistance in a common Salmonella serotype called I4,[5],12:i:- was 46 percent, more than double the rate from two years before. In the United States, resistance in this serotype to four drugs (ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracycline) rose from 18 percent in 2011 to 46 percent in 2013. Human illness with this serotype has been linked to animal exposure and consumption of pork or beef, including meats purchased from live animal markets.

NARMS also tests Campylobacter, another germ that is transmitted by food. One in four Campylobacter samples from sick people are still resistant to quinolones like ciprofloxacin.

Most Salmonella and Campylobacter infections cause diarrheal illness that resolves within a week without antibiotics. These germs can also cause infection of the bloodstream and other sites. In more serious infections and when germs are resistant, antibiotics may be ineffective, increasing the chance of a severe illness.

The 2013 NARMS Annual Human Isolates Report is now available at http://www.cdc.gov/narms/reports/index.html.

Demand or told they want it ($$$) Meat companies go antibiotics-free as more consumers demand it

I have concerns about indiscriminate use of antibiotics as sub-therapeutics, but they also have a role in reducing disease.

potomac.two.step.jack.ryanAccording to the The Wall Street Journal, the Food and Drug Administration, responding to concerns about antibiotic-resistant bacteria, asked drug and meat companies late last year to end the practice of feeding antibiotics to livestock to speed growth.

It’s a standard argument regarding agricultural technologies for the few to speak on behalf of the many to promote an agenda, often more political than scientific, and say, we’re just doing what consumers want.

More like the Potomac two-step, that does little to actually make fewer people barf from the food they eat.

CDC: Antibiotic resistance in foodborne germs is an ongoing threat

In a report that is sure to be interpreted by the political lenses of various groups, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2012 that multi-drug resistant Salmonella decreased during the past 10 years and resistance to two important groups of drugs – cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones – remained low in 2012. However, in Salmonella typhi, the germ that causes typhoid fever, resistance to quinolone drugs increased to 68 percent in 2012, raising concerns that one of the common treatments for typhoid fever may not work in many cases.

chickenpurseAbout 1 in 5 Salmonella Heidelberg infections was resistant to ceftriaxone, a cephalapsorin drug. This is the same Salmonella serotype that has been linked to recent outbreaks associated with poultry. Ceftriaxone resistance is a problem because it makes severe Salmonella infections harder to treat, especially in children.

The data are part of the latest report of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), a tri-agency surveillance system that has tracked antibiotic resistance in humans (CDC), retail meats (Food and Drug Administration), and food animals (U.S. Department of Agriculture) since 1996.  The report from CDC NARMS compares resistance levels in human samples in 2012 to a baseline period of 2003-2007. 

“Our latest data show some progress in reducing resistance among some germs that make people sick but unfortunately we’re also seeing greater resistance in some pathogens, like certain types of Salmonella,” said Robert Tauxe, M.D., M.P.H, deputy director of CDC’s Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases. “Infections with antibiotic-resistant germs are often more severe. These data will help doctors prescribe treatments that work and to help CDC and our public health partners identify and stop outbreaks caused by resistant germs faster and protect people’s health.”

Among the other findings in the 2012 report:

*Campylobacter resistance to ciprofloxacin remained at 25 percent, despite FDA’s 2005 withdrawal of its approval for the use of enrofloxacin in poultry. Ciprofloxacin and enrofloxacin are both in the fluoroquinolone class of drugs.

*Shigella resistance to ciprofloxacin (2 percent) and azithromycin (4 percent) is growing. However, no Shigella strains were resistant to both drugs.

*Although fluoroquinolone resistance remained low in 2012, Salmonella enteritidis – the most common Salmonella type – accounted for 50 percent of infections resistant to the fluoroquinolone drug nalidixic acid, which is used in laboratory testing for resistance. Resistance to nalidixic acid relates to decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin, a widely used fluoroquinolone drug. Other work shows that many of the nalidixic acid resistant Salmonella enteritidis infections are acquired during travel abroad.

The full 2012 NARMS report is available on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/narms/reports/annual-human-isolates-report-2012.html. For more information about NARMS,  visit www.cdc.gov/narms.

In Australia, researchers from the Australian National University’s Research School of Biology tested more than 90 packages of chicken bought from several Canberra retailers for the presence of E. coli. 

chicken.south.parkProfessor of microbial population biology and evolution, David Gordon, said almost 200 samples were found to contain E. coli and of those, about two-thirds were discovered to be antibiotic-resistant.

Just four strains of E. coli were found to be resistant to antibiotics known as fluoroquinolone, which were not used by Australia’s poultry industry, he said. 

Professor Gordon said the E. coli strains researchers found were rare in the samples. 

He said it was unlikely the strains of fluoroquinolone-resistent E. coli were in the chicken before slaughtering, and the “most logical, although not necessarily true, explanation for their presence in poultry is post-processing contamination.”

An ACT Health spokeswoman said although the directorate had not seen the study, the presence of resistant bacteria in chicken meat highlighted the importance of good food handling and preparation when eating chicken, including thorough cooking and cleaning of food-preparation surfaces. 

“This is important to prevent bacterial food-borne illness regardless of whether bacteria are resistant to an antibiotic,” she said. 

An Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority spokeswoman said the authority was responsible for the assessment and registration of veterinary medicines, including antibiotics, in Australia.

She said fluoroquinolones have never been registered for use in food-producing animals in Australia.

“State and territory governments are responsible for controlling the use of pesticides and veterinary medicines beyond the point of retail sale,” she said.