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Acta Vet Scand Suppl. 1999;92:67-75.

Public health aspects of antibiotic resistance monitoring in the USA.

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Center for Veterinary Medicine, U.S Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland, USA.


Treatment of food-producing animals with antimicrobial agents that are important in human therapy may present a public health risk by the transfer of resistant zoonotic pathogens or resistant genes from animals to humans via consumption of contaminated food. Resistant bacteria can diminish the effectiveness of antibiotics and demand the use of more expensive or less safe alternatives. In 1996, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring Program to prospectively monitor changes in antimicrobial susceptibilities of zoonotic enteric pathogens from human and animal clinical specimens, from healthy farm animals, and from carcasses of food-producing animals at slaughter plants. Data resulting from the monitoring program will be used to redirect antimicrobial drug use, primarily through educational initiatives directed at health practitioners, in order to diminish the development and spread of resistance. Veterinary testing is conducted at USDA's Agricultural Research Service and CDC's Foodborne Disease Laboratory is testing human isolates under contract to FDA. Both the CDC and USDA laboratories are using a semi-automated system (Sensititre, Accumed, Westlake, Ohio) for testing susceptibilities of the isolates to 17 antimicrobial agents on a minimum inhibitory concentration plate. Comparable methods for isolate handling are used in both laboratories. This paper describes the development, implementation, and objectives of the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring Program, presents initial data generated by the program, and discusses future plans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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