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Antimicrobials
Colistin in animals: a high risk for resistance selection in Europe?
  1. Pascal Richez1 and
  2. David G. S. Burch2
  1. 1TransPharm, BP7, F-34160 Saint Genies des Mourgues, France
  2. 2Octagon Services, The Round House, The Friary, Old Windsor, Berkshire SL4 2NR

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IN November 2015, Liu and others (2015) reported the finding of a transferable plasmid-mediated colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, in Escherichia coli isolates from animals, food and patients in China. Horizontal gene transfer is nothing less than a paradigm shift in colistin resistance, which hitherto had been thought to be mediated solely by chromosomal mutations and thus spread by vertical transmission.

In a subsequent survey in Denmark (Hasman and others 2015), mcr-1 was detected in an E coli isolate from a Danish patient with septicaemia and in five E coli isolates from imported chicken meat out of 3000 isolated strains from 2012 to 2015. In the UK, Godbole and others (2015) reported that the mcr-1 gene was detected by a bioinformatics approach in 15 out of 24,000 isolates of Salmonella species, E coli, Klebsiella species, Enterobacter and Campylobacter species, from food and human isolates from between 2012 and 2015. They found 10 genotypically diverse human Salmonella isolates (eight S Typhimurium, one S Paratyphi B var Java and one S Virchow). Two of the S Typhimurium cases and the S Java case had a reported history of travel (to Asia). They also found two isolates of S Paratyphi B var Java phage type Colindale detected in a single sample of poultry meat imported from the EU and three E coli isolates from two human patients.

Denmark and the UK are considered low users of colistin in veterinary medicine. In France, a moderate …

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