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09-08-2011 | Gastroenterology | Article

Drug-resistant strain of salmonella identified


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MedWire News: A new strain of multidrug-resistant salmonella infected more than 500 people in Europe and the USA between 2002 and 2008, research shows.

The new strain of Salmonella enterica serotype Kentucky first emerged in Egypt and is highly resistant to ciprofloxacin, report the researchers.

Despite the increase of S. enterica serotype Kentucky, multinational surveillance of the global food system allowed prompt identification of the new strain at the international level, according to François-Xavier Weill (World Health Organization, Paris, France) and colleagues in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

There are an estimated 1.7 million salmonella infections per year in the USA, of which approximately 2800 are fatal, say Weill et al.

Using data from the national surveillance systems of France, England, Wales, Denmark, and the USA, the researchers identified the emergence of multidrug-resistant isolates of S. enterica serotype Kentucky.

This emerging strain had a high level of resistance to ciprofloxacin (CIPR) and was identified in 489 individuals.

"The first CIPR Kentucky was isolated in 2002 from a French tourist who had gastroenteritis during a cruise on the Nile river in Egypt," write Weill and colleagues.

Approximately 10% of infected individuals did not travel internationally from 2000 to 2008, however, suggesting that infections occurred in Europe through the consumption of contaminated imported foods or through secondary contaminations, they add.

S. enterica serotype Kentucky has been closely linked with poultry since 1937, and in the present study, the CIPR Kentucky clone was isolated from chickens and turkeys from three noncontiguous African countries: Ethiopia, Morocco, and Nigeria. This suggests that poultry is an important method of infection with this strain, say the researchers.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Craig Hedberg (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA) said that by linking public health surveillance systems at the international level, the researchers identified the strain's emergence and risks, and controlled its further spread. He said this was a "remarkable achievement."

The emergence and spread of clinically significant clones of Salmonella occur frequently, he said. Despite this, public health surveillance measures are being cut in US and European health budgets.

This is a mistake, stated Hedberg, because public health surveillance is critical to improving and maintaining the safety of our food.

By MedWire Reporters

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