EU report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from human, animals and food

10 March 2020

Article: 54/1002

The latest report on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals and food has been published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), covering the period 2017–2018.

The data show that a large proportion of Salmonella bacteria are multidrug-resistant, meaning they are resistant to three or more antimicrobials. In humans, resistance to ciprofloxacin is common, particularly in certain types of Salmonella, and resistance to high concentrations of ciprofloxacin increased overall from 1.7% in 2016 to 4.6% in 2018. For Campylobacter, 16 out of 19 countries report very high or extremely high percentages of ciprofloxacin resistance.

High levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin are also reported in Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria from poultry. Ciprofloxacin is a fluoroquinolone, a class of antimicrobials categorised as critically important for use in humans. If fluoroquinolones lose their effectiveness, the impact on human health could be significant. However, combined resistance to fluoroquinolones and third generation cephalosporines in Salmonella, and to fluoroquinolones and macrolides in Campylobacter, remains low.

In food-producing animals, the summary indicator of susceptibility to all antimicrobials has increased in E. coli across six EU member states over the period 2014-2018. This is seen as a positive development, as it means that, in these countries, treatments with antimicrobials would have a higher chance of being successful, if required.

Source: ECDC, 3 March 2020 and EFSA, 3 March 2020