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N Engl J Med. 1987 Mar 5;316(10):565-70.

Chloramphenicol-resistant Salmonella newport traced through hamburger to dairy farms. A major persisting source of human salmonellosis in California.


Animal-to-human transmission of drug-resistant salmonella and the role of antimicrobial use in food animals in the emergence of these bacteria are controversial subjects. Investigation of a 4.9-fold increase in Salmonella newport isolations from Californians in 1985 showed that 87 percent of the isolates had an unusual antimicrobial-resistance pattern (including chloramphenicol resistance) and a single, identical plasmid. Interviews of 45 patients and 89 matched controls in Los Angeles County showed that illness was associated with penicillin or tetracycline use during the month before onset (P less than 0.001) and with eating ground beef during the week before onset (P = 0.052). The epidemic strain was isolated from hamburger products eaten by cases, abattoirs where the animals from which the meat came were slaughtered, dairies that sent cows for slaughter on days when culture-positive products were processed, and ill dairy cows. Isolation of salmonella from beef carcasses in abattoirs correlated with the proportion of dead or moribund animals received for slaughter (r = 0.60, P less than 0.05). Isolation of chloramphenicol-resistant salmonella from dairy farms was associated with the use of chloramphenicol at those dairies. We conclude that food animals are a major source of antimicrobial-resistant salmonella infections in humans and that these infections are associated with antimicrobial use on farms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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