Scientists Warn of New Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella

WEDNESDAY Aug. 3, 2011 -- The identification of a new multidrug-resistant strain of salmonella shows the importance of public health surveillance in a global food system, French scientists say.

Their analysis of national surveillance systems in the United States, Denmark, France, England and Wales revealed the emergence of the S. Kentucky strain of salmonella, which has a high level of resistance to ciprofloxacin, a common treatment for severe salmonella infections.

This strain infected 489 patients in France, England and Wales, and Denmark between 2000 and 2008. The first infections were acquired mainly in Egypt between 2002 and 2005. Since 2006, infections have also been acquired in various parts of Africa and the Middle East.

About 10 percent of the European patients said they hadn't traveled to any of these areas, which suggests that their infections may have resulted from eating contaminated imported foods or through contact with infected people, said the Pasteur Institute researchers.

The investigators found that chickens and turkeys from Ethiopia, Morocco and Nigeria carried the S. Kentucky strain, an indication that poultry may be an important source of infection.

The study is published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

"We hope that this publication might stir awareness among national and international health, food and agricultural authorities so that they take the necessary measures to control and stop the dissemination of this strain before it spreads globally, as did another multidrug-resistant strain of salmonella, Typhimurium DT104, starting in the 1990s," study co-leader Simon Le Hello said in a journal news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers salmonella food safety tips.

Posted: August 2011


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