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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2008 Apr;31(4):307-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2007.12.010. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Quinolone resistance in the food chain.

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Department of Microbiology, Hospital Clinic, School of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Villarroel, 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.


Antimicrobials are used in pet animals and in animal husbandry for prophylactic and therapeutic reasons and also as growth promoters, causing selective pressure on bacteria of animal origin. The impact of quinolones or quinolone-resistant bacteria on the management of human infections may be associated with three different scenarios. (i) Quinolone-resistant zoonotic bacterial pathogens are selected and food is contaminated during slaughter and/or preparation. (ii) Quinolone-resistant bacteria non-pathogenic to humans are selected in the animal. When the contaminated food is ingested, the bacteria may transfer resistance determinants to other bacteria in the human gut (commensal and potential pathogens). And (iii) quinolones remain in residues of food products, which may allow the selection of antibiotic-resistant bacteria after the food is consumed. In this review, we analyse the abovementioned aspects, emphasising the molecular basis of quinolone resistance in Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp.

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