Health and Food – The European Union Summary Report on Antimicrobial Resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals, and food in 2019/2020
The 2019/2020 European Union Summary Report on Antimicrobial Resistance in zoonotic and indicator bacteria from humans, animals, and food was officially published on 29 March 2022. The report was conducted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The report details antimicrobial resistance by each individual microorganism and also provides a general review of antimicrobial trends since the onset of COVID-19. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is defined as the ability of an individual microorganism to withstand antimicrobials designed to kill them or prevent growth and multiplication. Two microorganisms, salmonella and campylobacter, have demonstrated continual high levels of AMR. This is demonstrated in part by the naming of campylobacteriosis as the most reported zoonotic, or infectious disease passed between humans and animals, in the EU in 2020. Additionally, the same high-AMR bacteria were the most reported cause of foodborne illness in 2020. The report also details that while the microorganisms were able to withstand individual antimicrobials, the combined resistance of salmonella, campylobacter, and E. coli was significantly lower when submitted to the usage of two different antimicrobials used simultaneously. The EU has established outcome indicators to measure AMR reduction progress. These indicators, as detailed in the 2019/2020 report, demonstrate that several Member States have made significant progress to reduce AMR in food-producing animals. One type of antimicrobial, carbapenem (CP), must continue to be isolated from use in food-producing animals as it must be reserved for severe, high-risk infections in humans suffering from multidrug-resistant pathogens. Following this report, the ECDC and EFSA recommend a conservative approach to the usage of antimicrobials in agriculture and close monitoring of the usage of CP to avoid usage in livestock. Each individual Member State exhibits different levels of AMR, which can be tied to both historical or current patterns of antimicrobial use and should be monitored to ensure AMR does not continue to grow in zoonotic bacteria.