Bacterial resistance to highly used antibiotics: A worrying trend!

15 Mar 2023

Bacterial resistance to highly used antibiotics: A worrying trend!

Bacterial resistance to highly used antibiotics continues to be a worrying trend!

A report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) showed that the resistance of Bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter to commonly used antimicrobials is continually observed in both humans and animals.

Nevertheless, in different countries, the resistance to highly critical antimicrobials used in humans was reported in low levels, but not for Salmonella or Campylobacter.

Mike Catchpole and Carlos Das Neves, scientists from the ECDC and EFSA, said:

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“Antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats we face worldwide, affecting humans, animals, and the environment. Working together remains key to tackling this complex problem.”



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They added:

 “In our work, we embody the One Health approach, recognizing the close links and interdependency of the health of humans, animals, plants, and the wider environment.”

There were encouraging trends in several countries where an increasing proportion of bacteria from food-producing animals was susceptible to all tested antimicrobials.

  • Moreover, the prevalence of Extended-spectrum Beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and AmpC beta-lactamases (AmpC) producing E. Coli is decreasing.

The report indicates that from 2013 to 2021, there was a significant reduction of resistant Salmonella in humans in various countries. Related to the use of antibiotics such as ampicillin and tetracycline. This result was most associated with S. Typhimurium. Additionally, the data revealed decreasing trends in the resistance of Campylobacter jejuni to erythromycin in humans and broilers.


This type of antimicrobial is essential for the treatment of campylobacteriosis.


However, the report also shows an increasing trend in the resistance of S. Enteritidis and C. jejuni to ciprofloxacin in humans over the same period. These pathogens are the main cause of salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis in humans.

Similar trends were observed for C. jejuni from broilers between 2009 and 2020, where resistance to ciprofloxacin increased in several countries. As a result of such findings, this antimicrobial can no longer be recommended to treat severe Campylobacter infections in humans.

 E. coli  resistance to carbapenems is still rare in food-producing animals and humans. However, since carbapenems are considered as last-resort antimicrobials, any findings showing resistance to these compounds in zoonotic bacteria represent a serious concern. Therefore, carbapenem resistance needs to be continually investigated and must be kept under careful surveillance.

You may also like: EFSA reports the status of residues found in products of animal origin.”




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