07 Dec Detection of CRE in industrial US swine operations
In a study appearing on 5 December in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, investigators from Ohio State University recovered 18 isolates of multiple carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) species in environmental samples taken from an industrial US swine operation. Carbapenems are currently used as a last line of defense against drug-resistant bacteria, and thus such bacteria pose a serious threat to human health. While CRE have been reported in European and Asian livestock, and are known to cause life-threatening infections in US healthcare settings, this is the first time that these agents have been identified in association with US livestock operations. Given that CRE were not detected in swine, researchers are hopeful that CRE has not yet infiltrated the US food supply chain. These findings however raise serious concerns about a potential new path for the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, and the possibility of food borne transmission of CRE that could expose a large number of US consumers to such dangerous pathogens.