Human health hazard from antimicrobial-resistant enterococci in animals and food

Ole Eske Heuer, Anette Marie Hammerum, P. Collignon, Henrik Caspar Wegener

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The use of antimicrobial agents in the modern farm industry has created a reservoir of resistant bacteria in food animals. Foods of animal origin are often contaminated with enterococci that are likely to contribute resistance genes, virulence factors, or other properties to enterococci IN humans. The potential hazard to human health from antimicrobial-resistant enterococci in animals is questioned by some scientists because of evidence of host specificity of enterococci. Similarly, the occurrences of specific nosocomial clones of enterococci in hospitals have lead to the misconception that antimicrobial-resistant animal enterococci should be disregarded as a human health hazard. On the basis of review of the literature, we find that neither the results provided by molecular typing that classify enterococci as host-specific organisms nor the occurrence of specific nosocomial clones of enterococci provide reasons to change the current view that antimicrobial-resistant enterococci from animals pose a threat to human health. On the contrary, antimicrobial resistance genes appear to spread freely between enterococci from different reservoirs, irrespective of their apparent host association.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume43
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)911-916
ISSN1058-4838
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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