Early results from resistance monitoring conducted at the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) show that the transferrable gene mcr-1 which was first detected in China and which causes resistance to the antibiotic colistin is also widespread in intestinal bacteria in farm animals in Germany.
Most frequently, this colistin resistance is detected in Escherichia coli of fattening poultry. Transferrable resistance genes can be passed on from harmless intestinal bacteria, so-called commensal bacteria, to pathogens thus making these pathogens harder to treat. It was previously assumed that resistance to colistin could not be transferred between bacteria.
The proportion of colistin-resistant bacteria isolates in German farm animals has not increased in recent years. Results show that this transferrable antimicrobial resistance has been around for many years in Germany, but has only been detected recently. It now needs to be investigated to what extent such transferrable antimicrobial resistance plays a role in the treatment of infectious diseases in humans.
The BfR has tested bacteria isolates from investigations conducted between 2012 and 2015 that were resistant to colistin for the presence of the transferrable gene mcr-1, using a method made available by the European Reference Laboratory in Copenhagen. As part of the resistance monitoring programme, resistance to colistin has been tested in Germany for years. Accordingly, it is known that resistance to colistin is particularly common in isolates of the intestinal bacteria Escherichia coli and in salmonella from poultry populations. The BfR is now testing further isolates from the years prior to 2012.
Thursday January 7, 2016/ BFR/ Germany.