ITALY, Parma. Bacteria found in humans, animals and food continue to show resistance to widely used antimicrobials, says the latest report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in bacteria by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The findings underline that AMR poses a serious threat to public and animal health. Infections caused by bacteria that are resistant to antimicrobials lead to about 25,000 deaths in the EU every year.
The report also includes the following findings that may have a public health impact: Resistance to carbapenem antibiotics has been detected for the first time as part of EU-wide annual monitoring in animals and food. Carbapenems are usually the last remaining treatment option for patients infected with multi-drug resistant bacteria to other available antibiotics. Very low levels of resistance were observed in E. coli bacteria found in pigs and meat from pigs.
Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli has been detected in beef, pork, pigs and calves. Bacteria that produce ESBL enzymes show multi-drug resistance to β-lactam antibiotics, which include penicillin derivatives and cephalosporins. The prevalence of ESBL-producing E. coli varied across countries, from low to very high (find out more from our data visualisation tool).
Resistance to colistin has been found at very low levels in Salmonella and E. coli in pigs and cattle. Colistin may be commonly used in some countries for the control of infections in animals, especially in pigs. In some circumstances it may be used as a last-resort antibiotic in humans.
More than 10% of the tested Campylobacter coli bacteria in humans showed resistance to two critically important antimicrobials (fluoroquinolones and macrolides), which are used to treat severe cases of Campylobacter infections in humans. Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported foodborne disease in the EU.