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Antibiotic resistance on the rise

News Section Icon Published 26/11/2012

The Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics is calling on Minister of State for Agriculture, David Heath MP, to ban the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in poultry production.

Antibiotic resistance has increased dramatically in the last 10 years and the widespread use of fluoroquinolones in poultry risks causing yet further resistance.

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK, affecting over 350,000 people a year and chickens are the source of 50-80% of cases.

Many countries such as the US, Denmark, Finland and Australia have already banned the use in poultry.

When fluoroquinolones were first licensed for use in poultry in the UK in 1993, there was no known resistance in campylobacter from people who had not been treated with the antibiotics.

In 2007, almost half (46%) the campylobacter food poisoning cases caused by the most common strain were resistant.

Fluoroquinolones are one of only two types of antibiotics used to treat campylobacter infections, and there are now about 150,000 fluoroquinolone-resistant campylobacter infections each year in the UK.

In 2008, the European Food Safety Authority said: 'A major source of human exposure to fluoroquinolone resistance via food appears to be poultry'. Despite this, the use of fluoroquinolones in UK farming has increased by 70% over the past decade.

A Food Standards Agency survey in 2007 found that four out of every ten retail chickens were contaminated with campylobacter, and that one in five samples of campylobacter were resistant to fluoroquinolones.

Find out more about the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics.


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