Campylobacter in pigeon from France in Germany
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A survey in the Netherlands has found more than a quarter of people wash raw chicken, which public health officials say increases the chances of spreading bacteria.
Results come from two surveys by the Netherlands Nutrition Centre (Voedingscentrum) with the Dutch population about safe food handling.
The first survey in May 2021 with 2,000 participants asked Dutch consumers about general food safety handling in the domestic kitchen. One of the questions was if they washed their chicken.
A second survey in November 2021 with 1,000 respondents was focused on safe handling of chicken. People were asked if they washed their chicken and more details about why and how. Both surveys revealed that more than 25 percent of consumers washed their chicken often or almost always.
Bacteria on chicken can cause food poisoning. Usually it is because of Campylobacter or Salmonella.
Washing raw poultry is not recommended, because of concerns about contaminating other foods and surfaces and increasing the risk of foodborne illness.
The latest data from a national surveillance system that monitors foodborne bacterial pathogens for antimicrobial resistance (AMR) shows some concerning changes in resistance patterns among serotypes of Salmonella.
The findings come from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring Systems (NARMS) 2019 Integrated Summary, which combines data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The report provides a snapshot of resistance patterns found in bacteria isolated from humans, animals, raw meats from retail outlets (chicken, ground turkey, ground beef, and pork chops), and meat and poultry product samples collected at slaughtering facilities.
In addition to Salmonella, which causes an estimated 1.35 million illnesses and 26,500 hospitalizations each year, the NARMS report also includes resistance data on Campylobacter (1.5 million illnesses and 19,500 hospitalizations), Escherichia coli, and Enterococcus. NARMS monitors these bacteria to detect emerging resistance patterns to the antibiotics that are most important to human medicine, multidrug resistance, and specific resistance genes.
Overall, the NARMS report shows that more than three fourths of the Salmonella isolates (78%) from humans were not resistant to any of the antibiotics tested, and that the overall level of resistance in humans remains relatively unchanged since 2018. However, the report also found rising resistance to ciprofloxacin—one of the three antibiotics used to treat severe Salmonella infections.
From 2018 to 2019, Salmonella with decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin increased from 9% to 11% in humans, from 18% to 31% in retail chicken, from 20% to 30% in chicken product samples, from 26% to 32% in chicken cecal content samples, and from 0% to 14% in retail pork samples.
The increase in resistance to ciprofloxacin among poultry isolates was primarily due to the increase in Salmonella Infantis, a multidrug-resistant (MDR) serotype that emerged in 2014.
The rise in Salmonella Infantis isolates was also behind an increase in MDR isolates found in retail chicken (from 20% to 32%) and in chicken product samples (22% to 29%). Up to 10 antimicrobial resistance (AMR) genes were found in some of the Salmonella Infantis isolates.
In addition, the NARMS report shows an increase in another MDR Salmonella serotype, I 4,,12:i:-, which is linked to pigs and has become an increasing public health concern in Europe and the United States. The percentage of MDR isolates from humans that are of the I 4,,12:i:- serotype rose from 7% in 2010 to 26% in 2019, and from 7% to 35% in swine samples.
NARMS data also show rising fluoroquinolone resistance in Campylobacter isolates. In humans, the proportion of ciprofloxacin-resistant Campylobacter isolates rose from 29% in 2018 to 34% in 2019 for Campylobacter jejuni and from 41% to 45% in C coli. Ciprofloxacin-resistant C jejuni isolated from chicken cecal contents (21% in 2018 to 26% in 2019) and chicken retail samples (20% to 22%) also rose.
Analysis of E coli isolates found increases in ceftriaxone resistance in sow cecal samples (3% in 2018 to 7% in 2019) and in retail pork (4% to 7%). Whole-genome sequencing of Salmonella and E coli from animals, animal products, and retail meats found that none harbored any of the MCR-1 through MCR-8 colistin-resistance genes.
The supermarket Marks and Spencer has reported better results for Campylobacter in chicken in the latest quarterly figures from the United Kingdom.
The data covers October to December 2021 for nine retailers on high levels of Campylobacter in fresh, shop-bought, UK-produced chickens.
Results at Morrisons, Lidl, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s went up while Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Co-op, Aldi and Asda recorded lower levels of contamination compared to the previous quarter.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) maximum level is 7 percent of birds with more than 1,000 colony forming units per gram (CFU/g) of Campylobacter.
Antibiotic resistance in Salmonella and Campylobacter bacteria is still high, says a report released today by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Campylobacteriosis was the most reported zoonosis in the EU in 2020 and the most frequently reported cause of foodborne illness. Campylobacter bacteria from humans and poultry continues to show very high resistance to ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, that is commonly used to treat some types of bacterial human infection.
Increasing trends of resistance against the fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics has been observed in humans and broilers for Campylobacter jejuni. In Salmonella Enteritidis, the most common type of Salmonella in humans, increasing trends of resistance to the quinolone/fluoroquinolone class of antibiotics were observed. In animals, resistance to these antibiotics in Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella Enteritidis were generally moderate to high.
However, despite the increasing trends of resistance against certain antibiotics, simultaneous resistance to two critically important antibiotics – remains low for E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter in bacteria from both humans and food-producing animals.
A decline in resistance to tetracyclines and ampicillin in Salmonella from humans was observed in nine and ten countries, respectively, over the period 2016-2020, and this was particularly evident in Salmonella Typhimurium. Despite the decline, resistance to these antibiotics still remains high in bacteria from both humans and animals.
Furthermore, in more than half of the European Union countries, a statistically significant decreasing trend in the prevalence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing E. coli was observed in food-producing animals. This is an important finding as particular strains of ESBL-producing E. coli are responsible for serious infections in humans.
Carbapenem resistance remains extremely rare in E. coli and Salmonella from food-producing animals. Carbapenems are a class of last resort antibiotics and any findings showing resistance to these in zoonotic bacteria are concerning.
Although findings and trends are consistent with data reported in previous years, the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the amount of data reported, particularly with regards to public health.
An interactive data visualisation tool shows resistance levels in humans, animals and food, country-by-country in 2019 and 2020.
Additionally, the human food and waterborne antibiotic resistance data is published in ECDC’s Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Diseases (under the diseases campylobacteriosis, salmonellosis and shigellosis, respectively).
In 2020, surveillance of Campylobacter infections confirmed the epidemiological and biological trends already observed in recent years:
The number of Campylobacter strains listed by the CNR has been increasing since 2013, the year in which the network’s laboratories introduced online data entry. This increase could be a reflection of an increase in Campylobacter infections in France. However, this increase in the number of strains must be considered within the framework of the specificities of the surveillance system. Several factors, such as an increase in the activity of the network’s laboratories or prescriptions for stool cultures, could cause an increase in the number of isolations and notifications over time. The implementation of multiplex PCR in many laboratories has also facilitated the detection of Campylobacter sp in stool samples.
The health context linked to the COVID-19 pandemic does not seem to have had an impact on the surveillance data. A decrease in the number of strains compared to previous years was observed only in March-April 2020, corresponding to the period of the first confinement. This reduction seems to reflect less recourse to care (medical consultation, biological analyses) during this period, but could also indicate a reduction in the incidence linked to health restrictions.
A potential vaccine developed by University of Guelph researchers to combat one of the main causes of bacterial diarrheal illness worldwide is set to be tested on people early this year.
Human clinical trials of a novel sugar-based vaccine will take place in 2022 at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The trials will be funded by the United States National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Mario Monteiro, a professor in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, hopes recent refinements to the vaccine in his lab following earlier phase one trials will improve its effectiveness against the Campylobacter jejuni bacterium.