Transatlantic task force tackles antibiotic resistance
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the European Commission (EC) today released the first progress report of the Transatlantic Taskforce on Antimicrobial Resistance (TATFAR) and extended the US/EC partnership 2 additional years, HHS announced in a news release.
TATFAR was created in 2009 following a US–European Union (EU) presidential summit with the goal of improving cooperation in three areas: (1) appropriate therapeutic use of antimicrobial drugs in medical and veterinary settings, (2) prevention of healthcare- and community-associated drug-resistant infections, and (3) strategies for improving the pipeline of new antimicrobial drugs.
TATFAR adopted 17 recommendations for collaboration, which have been implemented through increased communication, regular meetings, joint workshops, and the exchange of information, approaches, and best practices, HHS said. Successes in 2011 through 2013 include adoption of procedures for timely international communication, publication of a report on developing new diagnostic tests, and presentations to the scientific community to increase awareness about funding opportunities.
US and EU agencies will focus on 1 new and 15 existing recommendations in the coming years, the report said.
"The partnership offers a unique perspective to tackle antimicrobial resistance worldwide," said Jimmy Kolker, HHS assistant secretary for global affairs. "We hope that the positive outcomes of this partnership will serve as a global model as we continue to work on this critical issue."
May 13 HHS press release
May 13 full HHS/EC report
UK study finds same MRSA strains in humans, pets
The same strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) circulate in both humans and pets without undergoing host adaptation, according to a study today in mBio, published by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).
UK researchers sequenced the genomes of 46 MRSA samples from cats and dogs collected from 2003 to 2007 from two large veterinary hospitals and several smaller veterinary practices in the United Kingdom. The samples were found to be similar to human MRSA strains.
"Phylogenomic analyses showed that all companion animal isolates were interspersed throughout the epidemic MRSA-15 (EMRSA-15) pandemic clade and clustered with human isolates from the United Kingdom, with human isolates basal to those from companion animals, suggesting a human source for isolates infecting companion animals," they wrote.
EMRSA-15 is a common MRSA family of strains that were first detected in the United Kingdom in the 1990s.
"Our study demonstrates that humans and companion animals readily exchange and share MRSA bacteria from the same population," said senior author Mark Holmes, VetMB, PhD, of the University of Cambridge, in an ASM news release. The study "provides evidence that antibiotic usage in animal medicine is shaping the population of a major human pathogen," he added.
Holmes says pet owners should not be concerned about the study's findings. "MRSA infection in cats and dogs is still extremely rare," he said. "There is very little risk of owners getting ill from their pets." He added that healthy pets are not likely to pick up MRSA from their owners but said the study serves as "a reminder that constant vigilance and high levels of hygiene are just as important when treating cats and dogs as with humans."
May 13 mBio study
May 13 ASM news release