Antimicrobials now ‘less effective’ in tackling animal-transmitted diseases
Antimicrobials used to treat diseases that can be transmitted between animals and humans, such as campylobacteriosis and salmonellosis, are becoming less effective, according to a new European report.
The findings were made in data released yesterday (Tuesday, February 26) by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), referring to resistance in a number of foodborne illnesses.
According to the report, which refers to 2017 data, resistance to fluoroquinolones – such as ciprofloxacin – is so high in campylobacter bacteria in some countries that these antimicrobials no longer work for the treatment of severe campylobacteriosis cases.
In campylobacter, “high to extremely high” proportions of bacteria were found to be resistant to ciprofloxacin and tetracyclines.
However, combined resistance to critically important antimicrobials was “very low to low” in salmonella and campylobacter from humans and animals and in indicator E. coli from animals.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “The report released today should ring – again – alarm bells.
“It shows that we are entering into a world where more and more common infections become difficult – or even sometimes impossible – to treat.
However, ambitious national policies in some countries limiting antimicrobial use have led to a decrease of antimicrobial resistance.
“So, before the alarm bells become a deafening siren, let’s make sure that we increasingly act all together, in every country and across the public health, animal health and environment sectors under the One Health approach umbrella.”
Mike Catchpole, ECDC’s chief scientist, urged that now is the time to turn the tide on antimicrobial resistance if we want to keep antibiotics working.
“It’s particularly worrying when it comes to combined resistance; even low proportions mean that many thousands of patients across the EU have limited treatment options for severe infections.”
‘Rise of antibiotics requires One Health approach’
The joint report, which presents the data collected from 28 EU member states from humans, pigs and calves under one year-of-age, confirms the rise in antibiotic resistance already identified in previous years.
The prudent use of antimicrobials is essential to limiting the emergence and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans and animals.