An ongoing outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Anatum began in Taiwan in 2015. Pork and poultry were identified as vehicles for transmission. Contaminated meat contributed to the high rate of infections among children. Nearly identical Salmonella Anatum strains have been identified in the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Philippines.
Nontyphoidal Salmonella (NTS) is a major cause for foodborne diseases worldwide. In Taiwan, the ambient climate and flourishing pig-raising industry makes NTS infections rampant. As in other countries, salmonellosis was primarily caused by Salmonella enterica serovars Enteritidis and Typhimurium in Taiwan (1), but rare serovars such as Salmonella Goldcoast have appeared in recent years (2). Recommended antimicrobial treatment options for salmonellosis include fluoroquinolones and extended-spectrum cephalosporins (1). However, resistance to these antibiotics has been emerging in many countries, leading to increased disease prevalence, disease severity, and death and the requirement of last-line antimicrobial drugs (e.g., carbapenems) (3–5).
Since 2015, northern Taiwan has seen an increase in Salmonella infections, caused by previously rare Salmonella Anatum. The infections were also reported in central Taiwan, indicating that this outbreak had already prevailed throughout the entire island (6). Co-resistance to ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin are the main feature of the outbreak clone. Evidence from epidemiologic, laboratory, and supply-chain investigations identified raw pork and poultry as the vehicle for spread of this strain. More important, genomic comparisons against the global public database indicated that this clone has appeared in Europe, Asia, and America. Given the increasing globalization of foodstuffs, these findings prompt an urgent global sharing of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data to facilitate disease surveillance and early recognition of international foodborne outbreaks (7,8).