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Campylobacter : Researchers Take Aim at Pathogen’s Drug Resistance

by 5m Editor
4 June 2007, at 12:03pm

US - Tests performed at Iowa State University revealed that some samples of the pathogen Campylobacter coli showed resistance to antibiotics that were intended to protect swine from diseases.

The project a collaborative effort between Qijing Zhang’s, an ISU associate professor of veterinary microbiology, and Irene Wesley, a research microbiologist at the National Animal Disease Centre in Ames, Iowa, are pursuing the research for the Food Safety Consortium. They believe this is a very significant discovery.

Zhang said although Campylobacter coli itself isn’t the main food safety concern, it could serve as reservoir of resistance for C. jejuni, a major food borne pathogen in the US and other countries.

“In terms of food borne diseases in humans, Campylobacter jejuni is the predominant species,” Zhang said. “Campylobacter coli causes some problems, but not as significant as Campylobacter jejuni. Also, pork meat is not a main source of human Campylobacter infection.”

The main reason for concern is that Campylobacter in swine can be transmitted to other farm animals, where greater potential for infection of humans can begin.

“Antibiotic resistance in swine is relevant to food safety, but in a different way,” Zhang explained. “It’s not like Campylobacter in poultry that can contaminate a bird or carcass.”

Zhang’s early results showed that Campylobacter coli was not resistant to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin (a fluoroquinolone), but he noted that was likely because ciprofloxacin is not used in US pig production.

Tests also showed that 56 percent of the Campylobacter coli isolates were resistant to the antibiotic doxycycline and 39 percent were resistant to erythromycin, another antibiotic. Fluoroquinolones and erythromycin are used in treating human Campylobacter infections.

Zhang says more attention needs to be placed on ciprofloxacin and erythromycin. "These two classes of antibiotics are key weapons for treatment of people with Campylobacter infections,” he says.

source: Newswise

5m Editor