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Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Jul;115(7):1035-9.

The persistence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter in poultry production.

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  • 1The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21224-2780, USA.



The use of antibiotics in food animal production has been associated with antibiotic-resistant infections in humans. In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned fluoroquinolone use in U.S. poultry production in order to reduce the prevalence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter. Little is known about the potential efficacy of this policy.


Our primary objective was to follow temporal changes in the prevalence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter among poultry products from two conventional producers who announced their cessation of fluoroquinolone use in 2002 (3 years before the FDA's ban). Our secondary objective was to compare, over time, the prevalence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter in conventional poultry products to those from producers who claim to use no antibiotics.


We collected poultry samples from two conventional producers and three antibiotic-free producers over the course of 20 weeks in 2004 (n = 198) and 15 weeks in 2006 (n = 210). We compared the rates of fluoroquinolone resistance among Campylobacter isolates from the different producers.


We found no significant change in the proportion of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter isolates from the two conventional producers over the study period. In addition, Campylobacter strains from the two conventional producers were significantly more likely to be fluoroquinolone resistant than those from the antibiotic-free producers.


The results from this study indicate that fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter may be persistent contaminants of poultry products even after on-farm fluoroquinolone use has ceased. The FDA's ban on fluoroquinolones in poultry production may be insufficient to reduce resistant Campylobacter in poultry products.

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