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J Infect Dis. 2002 Mar 15;185(6):837-40. Epub 2002 Feb 8.

Ciprofloxacin resistance in Campylobacter jejuni evolves rapidly in chickens treated with fluoroquinolones.

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  • 1Division of Animal and Food Microbiology, Center for Veterinary Medicine, US Food and Drug Administration, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA.


Fluoroquinolones are commonly used to treat gastroenteritis caused by Campylobacter species. Domestically acquired fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter infection has been documented recently in the United States. It has been proposed that the increase in resistance is due, in part, to the use of fluoroquinolones in poultry. In separate experiments, the effects of sarafloxacin and enrofloxacin treatment of Campylobacter jejuni-infected chickens on the development of ciprofloxacin resistance were measured. Fecal samples were collected before and after treatment and were cultured for C. jejuni. When enrofloxacin or sarafloxacin was used at US Food and Drug Administration-approved doses in broiler chickens, resistance developed rapidly and persisted in C. jejuni. MICs of ciprofloxacin increased from a base of 0.25 microg/mL to 32 microg/mL within the 5-day treatment time frame. These results show that the use of these drugs in chickens rapidly selects for resistant Campylobacter organisms and may result in less effective fluoroquinolone therapy for cases of human campylobacteriosis acquired from exposure to contaminated chicken.

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