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Background

The frequency of antibiotic resistance is increasing dramatically all over the world and pan-resistant Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, i.e. strains resistant towards all known antibiotics, are now being reported worldwide, including Denmark1-3,8,9. In most cases a direct relationship has been shown between increasing antibiotic use and development of resistance1-3,5,7-9. Some of these multi-resistant bacteria (e.g. methicillin-resistant S. aureus, MRSA) have recently emerged in animals, raising important questions about antibiotic usage in veterinary medicine4,6. Starting from the mid 1980s, many of the big pharmaceutical companies down-scaled or stopped their anti-infectious research, since the market for antibiotics was not considered profitable enough due to the long and expensive procedure required for approval of new antibiotics. The last new group of antibiotic compounds with high efficiency against gram-negative bacteria was the fluoroquinolones, which were marketed in 1980s. No truly new antibiotic drug class is presently in progress to be registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency (EMEA)7. With at least a 10-year span from patenting the molecule to marketing the compound as a drug, it appears that we are being surpassed by antibiotic resistance. The consequences are grave: we may soon not be able to treat infections such as meningitis, endocarditis or pneumonia1,5.

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Reference List

  1. Cars, O., L. D. Hogberg, M. Murray, O. Nordberg, S. Sivaraman, C. S. Lundborg, A. D. So, and G. Tomson. 2008. Meeting the challenge of antibiotic resistance. BMJ 337:a1438.
  2. Falagas, M. E., I. A. Bliziotis, S. K. Kasiakou, G. Samonis, P. Athanassopoulou, and A. Michalopoulos. 2005. Outcome of infections due to pandrug-resistant (PDR) gram-negative bacteria. BMC.Infect.Dis. 5:24.
  3. Giske, C. G., D. L. Monnet, O. Cars, and Y. Carmeli. 2008. Clinical and economic impact of common multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacilli. Antimicrob.Agents Chemother. 52:813-821.
  4. Guardabassi, L., M. Stegger, and R. Skov. 2007. Retrospective detection of methicillin resistant and susceptible Staphylococcus aureus ST398 in Danish slaughter pigs. Vet.Microbiol. 122:384-386.
  5. Hammerum, A. M., O. E. Heuer, H. D. Emborg, L. Bagger-Skjot, V. F. Jensen, A. M. Rogues, R. L. Skov, Y. Agerso, C. T. Brandt, A. M. Seyfarth, A. Muller, K. Hovgaard, J. Ajufo, F. Bager, F. M. Aarestrup, N. Frimodt-Moller, H. C. Wegener, and D. L. Monnet. 2007. Danish integrated antimicrobial resistance monitoring and research program. Emerg.Infect.Dis. 13:1632-1639.
  6. Moodley, A. and L. Guardabassi. 2009. Transmission of IncN plasmids carrying blaCTX-M-1 between commensal Escherichia coli in pigs and farm workers. Antimicrob.Agents Chemother. 53:1709-1711.
  7. Song, J. H. 2008. What's new on the antimicrobial horizon? Int.J.Antimicrob.Agents 32 Suppl 4:S207-S213.
  8. Thomson, J. M. and R. A. Bonomo. 2005. The threat of antibiotic resistance in gram-negative pathogenic bacteria: beta-lactams in peril! Curr.Opin.Microbiol. 8:518-524.
  9. Wegener, H. C. and N. Frimodt-Moller. 2000. Reducing the use of antimicrobial agents in animals and man. J.Med.Microbiol. 49:111-113.

 

Last revised 16 July 2014