A pair of annual federal reports on antimicrobial resistance in pathogens found in poultry and meat brought a mix of good and not-so-good news this week.
The government’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) issued its retail meat report for 2012 and an interim report for 2013 that covers only Salmonella.
NARMS is a collaborative program of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health departments in 11 states. The annual reports focus primarily on Salmonella and Campylobacter.
On the Salmonella front, testing showed that multidrug-resistant strains decreased from 2011 to 2013. In 2012, 33% of retail chicken Salmonella isolates were resistant to three or more classes of antibiotics, which was lower than in 2011. The number dropped to 26% in the 2013 interim report.
There was good news on quinolone resistance: all Salmonella isolates from poultry and meat were susceptible to nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin in 2012, and in 2013 all were susceptible to ciprofloxacin. (The 2013 report does not mention nalidixic acid.)
The 2012 report shows that third-generation cephalosporin resistance in retail chicken Salmonella isolates increased from 10% to 28% between 2002 and 2012, but the 2013 report shows it dropped to 19.7%.
As for Campylobacter, nearly half of C jejuni and C coli isolates from retail chicken were resistant to tetracycline in 2012, making tetracycline resistance the most common type among Campylobacter.
The report also said that monitoring has revealed no consistent changes in ciprofloxacin resistance among retail chicken C jejuni and C coli isolates since the FDA banned fluoroquinolone use in poultry production in 2005.
On the other hand, Campylobacter rarely shows resistance to multiple drugs, as only 26 of 620 poultry isolates were resistant to three or more antibiotic classes in 2012.
NARMS 2012 Retail Meat Report
NARMS 2013 interim report on Salmonella