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A human health risk assessment for macrolide-resistant Campylobacter associated with the use of macrolides in Danish pig production

Alban, L., Nielsen, E.O., Dahl, J.
Preventive veterinary medicine 2008 v.83 no.2 pp. 115-129
zoonoses, foodborne infections, campylobacteriosis, Campylobacter, risk assessment, disease transmission, livestock production, swine, veterinary drugs, macrolide antibiotics, drug therapy, diarrhea, antibiotic resistance, epidemiological studies, disease prevalence, human food chain, beef cattle, poultry, pork, beef, poultry meat, Denmark
In 2006, macrolides were withdrawn from the list of antibiotics recommended for veterinary treatment of diarrhoea in Danish pigs. The motive was to lower the antibiotic consumption in general and to mitigate the risk related to human infection with macrolide-resistant (Mres) Campylobacter. We subsequently conducted a risk assessment following international guidelines to address the risk for human health associated with usage of macrolides in Danish pigs. Data originated from surveillance programs, published papers, reports and statistics. Furthermore, an exposure model was built in @Risk. Mres Campylobacter is the hazard of interest. Data from different EU countries show that beef contains a very low prevalence (typically 0.1-1.1%) of Campylobacter; moreover, Mres is uncommon in Campylobacter isolates from cattle (between 0% and 6%). Beef was therefore left out of further analysis. For pork at retail, a high variation in the prevalence of Campylobacter has been reported within EU; but generally the prevalence is <10%, and the isolates are often Mres. EU data indicate that poultry meat harbor a high prevalence of Campylobacter ([double greater-than sign]10%) with Mres at prevalence ranging from 0% to 8%. According to the exposure model - that included origin of meat as well as consumption patterns - most human cases of Mres campylobacteriosis (157 out of 186) was ascribed to imported meat. Only seven cases could be explained by veterinary usage of macrolides in Danish pigs. In general, human cases of campylobacteriosis are self-limiting, and it is questionable whether there is any excess risk related to infection with Mres Campylobacter compared to sensitive Campylobacter. In conclusion, the risk associated with veterinary use of macrolides in Danish pigs for the human health of Danes seemed to be low.