Resistant Salmonella bacteria discovered

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Researchers report on antibiotic-resistant salmonella

Scientists at the renowned Pasteur Institute in Paris warn of the spread of resistant salmonella, which the antibiotics commonly used to treat salmonella infections can no longer harm. The so-called Kentucky Salmonella enterica (Salmonella Kentucky for short) has appeared in Europe, Africa and the Middle East in the past ten years.

In view of the spread of the resistant strain of Salmonella, health authorities worldwide are required to take appropriate precautionary measures, the scientists write in the current issue of the journal "Journal of Infectious Diseases". As part of their study, the researchers identified around 500 Salmonella Kentucky infections in France, Great Britain and Denmark alone between 2000 and 2008.

Health risk from Salmonella infections The common Salmonella, which is more common in eggs and poultry meat, is generally a health risk that should not be underestimated, the researchers report. In particular, people with an already weakened immune system are at risk of serious health problems, which may even be fatal. Every year, according to the Robert Koch Institute, more than 40,000 people in Germany are infected with the dangerous germs, with fever, cramping abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting being among the most common symptoms of a salmonella infection (salmonellosis). However, the infectious disease can also take a more serious course, as can be seen from the approximately 30 deaths that are recorded annually in Germany. Globally, salmonella is one of the most common health risks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of Salmonella infections in North America alone is estimated at 1.7 million a year. According to the scientists, more than 1.6 million cases from 27 European countries were reported in European countries between 1999 and 2008. Around 16 million people worldwide develop thypus each year, 500,000 people die as a result of the infection, with Salmonella Typhi being the cause of the disease, according to the WHO.

Increased spread of resistant salmonella However, the previous strains of salmonella could usually be treated relatively well with antibiotics, so that the health risks for those affected remained manageable if medication was started in good time. However, Simon Le Hello from the Pasteur Institute and colleagues have now discovered a Salmonella strain that is resistant to the broad spectrum antibiotic ciprofloxacin from the class of fluoroquinolones. The discovered Salmonella Kentucky has spread over the past ten years in parts of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the scientists report. The number of infections with the new Salmonella strain that has been recorded annually has risen continuously. While only three cases were registered in the European countries mentioned in 2002, there were already 174 in 2008, according to Le Hello and colleagues. The French researchers write that the pathogens originally came from East Africa and spread from here. However, around ten percent of the European patients examined did not travel before their illness, which should be seen as a sign of infection within Europe. According to the scientists, infections from imported food are not uncommon.

Resistant pathogens are not uncommon The development of resistance to antibiotics, as can currently be seen in Salmonella, is not uncommon nowadays. Experts fear that the careless handling of antibiotics and the corresponding frequent contact of the pathogens with the medication could result in the antibiotics losing their effectiveness in the treatment of diseases. The most common multi-resistant pathogens so far include the MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) from the genus Staphylococci known as hospital germs. Overall, however, a large number of bacteria, such as gonorrhea, plague or tuberculosis, have already developed resistance to antibiotics. The French researchers have now expanded the spectrum of antibiotic-resistant pathogens again with the discovered Salmonella Kentucky. (fp)

Also read:
Hospital germs: Staphylococci prefer blood
Infection risk in the hospital
Resistant bacteria in German hospitals

Image: Sebastian Karkus /

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