21 November 1997

Antibiotic overuse key to resistance

HEAVY use of antibiotics in intensive farming is one of the key factors behind the growth of virulent multi-drug resistant salmonella, a senior scientist has warned.

Patrick Wall, chief executive of the Irish Food Agency, told a conference in Birmingham that drug resistant salmonellas, such as Tymphimunum DT104, posed a growing threat to both farm animals and humans.

"The use of antibiotics should not be seen as a substitute for hygienic husbandry of animals. Antibiotics should be the last resort. The emergence of new drug resistant salmonellas is especially serious for the small number of people who suffer bacterial contamination in their blood.

"Cases of both drug resistant salmonella and campylobacter are far more common than E coli 0157, yet there is less public and media awareness of their dangers."