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Environment

Antimicrobial resistance remains a threat

by Britt E. Erickson
February 27, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 9

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are still showing up at alarming rates in people, farm animals, and food in the European Union, a report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control concludes. Just as in previous years, the agencies report regional differences in antimicrobial resistance levels, with the lowest levels in northern and western Europe. “These geographic variations are most likely related to differences in antimicrobial use across the EU,” says Marta Hugas, head of EFSA’s Biological Hazards & Contaminants unit. “For example, countries where actions have been taken to reduce, replace, and rethink the use of antimicrobials in animals show lower levels of antimicrobial resistance and decreasing trends.” For the first time, the agencies detected bacteria resistant to carbapenem antibiotics in pigs and meat from pigs. Such drugs are often used as a last resort in treating multi-drug-resistant infections in people. The agencies also report that multi-drug-resistant Salmonella bacteria are prevalent across the EU.

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