Salmonella drug resistance // Drug Repurposing

Salmonella drug resistance

The number of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella serotypes hasn’t increased drastically in recent years, but drug-resistant Salmonella continues to pose a public health threat in the United States, particularly as resistance spreads across classes of drugs, necessitates the use of more expensive drugs, makes treatment less effective, and, in worse-case scenarios, leaves infections untreatable.

A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study identified increasing resistance to a class of drugs called Cephalosporins, which are commonly used to treat severe Salmonella infections in adults and are the main drug of choice when treating children, for whom the fluoroquinolone class of drugs is not recommended. Currently, about five percent of Salmonella strains are resistant to Cephalosporins, mostly in cases of Salmonella Heidelberg and Salmonella Newport.

Cephalosporin resistance is the biggest current issue in drug-resistant Salmonella, said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC.

Bhushan Jayarao, director of the Animal Diagnostic Lab at Pennsylvania State University, echoed that sentiment, adding that Salmonella Typhimurium and Salmonella Heidelberg are at risk of acquiring CTX-M resistance to cephalosporins. CTX-M is one form of the beta-lactamase enzymes that breaks down cephalosporins (which are used to treat severe Salmonella infections in humans) and thereby confers resistance to the bacteria that produces this enzyme.

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The CDC study found that the main mechanism of resistance to cephalosporins is the production of beta-lactamases, which are enzymes that manage to inactivate the antimicrobial agent. Of concern to the researchers is the fact that the genes related to antimicrobial resistance are often mobile, moving between bacteria and Salmonella serotypes, humans and animals.

“The same genes were seen in several different kinds of Salmonella and in Salmonella collected from meat, animal and human samples, which shows that this gene is now pretty widespread, ” said Maria Karlsson research microbiologist with the National Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance team at CDC. “The Salmonella are sharing this gene.”

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