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Weekly Overview: Human Risk from Salmonella Unrelated to Farm Use of Antibiotics

04 February 2013

ANALYSIS - The risk to humans from multi-drug resistant (MDR) Salmonella is the same as from non-multi-resistant strains and has little to do with the use of antimicrobials on the farm, according to an Iowa State University professor. A new survey reveals that global pig feed tonnage in 2012 was 218 million tonnes in 2012, eight per cent higher than the previous year. In North America, a new type of Brachyspira is being blamed for the recent rise in cases of swine dysentery.

The risk to humans from multi-drug resistant (MDR) Salmonella is the same as from non-multi-resistant strains and has little to do with the use of antimicrobials on the farm, according to Dr Scott Hurd from Iowa State University.

Speaking at the International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, US, last week, Dr Hurd also said that the risk of antibiotic resistance being passed down from the farm to humans was negligible and was no reason to stop the use of antimicrobials in the farm.

He said that the major problem concerning multi-drug resistant Salmonella was in the merging of "three scary features" by the media and campaigning organisations - the words "resistance" and "Salmonella" and the political agenda of the organisations.

The number of incidents of drug-resistant Salmonella strains has been shown to be about the same as that of non-resistant strains and for this reason, their control is exactly the same.

Dr Hurd stressed that all Salmonella are a problem and MDR Salmonella are just as much of a problem as non-resistant strains.

The world is producing 959 million tons of feed and has increased its production by at least four per cent in the last year, according to the 2013 Global Feed Tonnage Survey.

The survey was released by Alltech, which assessed the compound feed production of 134 countries in December 2012, through information obtained in partnership with local feed associations and its sales team, who visit more than 26,000 feed mills annually.

The survey confirmed China as the chief producer of feed at 191 million tons and an estimated 10,000 feed mills.

The pig feed sector increased by eight per cent between 2011 and 2012 and reached 218 million tons globally.

Truly Irish Country Foods is behind a recent drive towards more sustainable agriculture in Europe, which has led to the development of a €1.68-million EU-funded group called 'Thrive Rite'.

The project is driven by SMEs including Truly Irish and several cutting-edge research groups within the EU led by an Irish Biotechnology company, BioAtlantis Ltd.

Pig producers are enduring enormous challenges in the form of rising feed costs. Legislation has also increased with tighter restrictions on reduced antibiotic use. This new group, Thrive Rite, hopes to find the solution.

Truly Irish has always been noted and awarded for its innovation. The brand was formed by 85 pig farmers in 2009 and has since established itself as the third biggest breakfast meat brand in Ireland.

It is expected that the project will yield the following results in two years: improved productivity, daily liveweight gain, feed efficiency, health status and digestive system, lower levels of pathogenic bacteria and more focus on the pigs' actual dietary requirements.

Turning to news on pig health, a professor with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine reports a new species of Brachyspira can be blamed for the bulk of cases of swine dysentery being reported in Canada and the US.

Five areas of Durango and Coahuila in Mexico have now been declared Aujeszky's disease-free zones.

Frosts and cold weather in the European part of Russia are hampering the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF), which could result in the country having its quarantined zones lifted in commercial areas, it was reported last week. In the Yaroslavl region, the ASF virus was detected in a dead wild boar.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

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