Foodborne Disease Scan for Jun 09, 2015

Resistant foodborne germs
Foodborne outbreak reporting

NARMS report notes some rise in resistant foodborne pathogens

Antibiotic resistance in foodborne pathogens showed some disturbing trends—including multidrug resistance in one Salmonella strain—according to the latest report from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), which covered US data through 2013.

NARMS tracks antibiotic resistance in non-typhoidal Salmonella, typhoidal Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli O157, and Vibrio species found in ill people, retail meats, and food animals. In 2013, NARMS tested more than 5,000 isolates.

The new NARMS report on human illnesses noted that, on the bright side, multidrug resistance in Salmonella isolates remained steady, at 10% of infections, compared with 11% in 2004 through 2008.

Resistance in some types of Salmonella is increasing, however. For example, multidrug resistance (to ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracycline) in a common Salmonella serotype called I4,[5],12:i:- was 46%, up markedly from 18% in 2011.

Also, resistance in Shigella to ciprofloxacin doubled to 4% in 2013 and azithromycin nonsusceptibility appears to be on the rise, particularly among Shigella flexneri. And resistance to a quinolone drug in Salmonella Typhi—the bacterium that causes typhoid fever—was 67% in 2013, up from 53% in the baseline period of 2008 to 2012. This raises concerns that ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone drug and a common treatment for typhoid fever, may not be as effective.

The NARMS report also noted that ciprofloxacin resistance in Campylobacter jejuni, the most common species isolated from humans, remains high, at 22%. And macrolide resistance in Campylobacter coli doubled, from 9% to 18%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a news release today, said that antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne pathogens cause an estimated 440,000 illnesses each year in the United States.
Jun 9 NARMS report
Jun 9 CDC press release
Landing page for NARMS reports since 1997
Apr 15 CIDRAP News scan on previous 2012-13 reports


Report: States are reporting, solving fewer foodborne outbreaks

States have reported and solved fewer foodborne disease outbreaks in recent years than they did earlier, according to an analysis by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) that covered the decade from 2003 through 2012.

From 2009 to 2012, the average number of foodborne outbreaks that states reported to the CDC dropped by about a third compared with the 6 preceding years, the CSPI, a food and nutrition watchdog group, said in a press release about the report, All Over the Map: A 10-Year Review of State Outbreak Reporting.

In addition, the share of outbreaks in which the contaminated food and the contaminant were identified decreased from 41% in 2003 to 29% in 2012, the group said.

The CSPI also found that reporting varies widely by state, with nine states reporting six or more outbreaks per million population and 19 states reporting one or fewer per million. States that did exceptionally well, with eight or more reported outbreaks, were Oregon, Wyoming, Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Hawaii.

Also, the 10 states that participated in the CDC's FoodNet surveillance program reported more outbreaks to the CDC, solved more of them, and could identify more pathogens than non-FoodNet states, the CSPI said.

"Our results suggest that many states may lack adequate funding and support for public health services," the report says.

"States that aggressively investigate outbreaks and report them to CDC can help nail down the foods that are responsible for making people sick," CSPI food safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal said in the release. Failure to detect and investigate outbreaks, she added, puts more people at risk.

Craig W. Hedberg, PhD, a food safety expert in the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health, added in the release, "The lessons learned from outbreak investigations are critical for identifying gaps in our food safety systems, and for developing more effective prevention strategies."

The report is an update of one the CSPI published in 2011 and was prepared with generally the same methodology.
Jun 8 CSPI press release
Full CSPI report

Jan 19, 2011, CIDRAP News story on earlier CSPI report

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