Research Article: Prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among bacterial pathogens isolated from cattle in different European countries: 2002–2004

Date Published: July 8, 2008

Publisher: BioMed Central

Author(s): Rene S Hendriksen, Dik J Mevius, Andreas Schroeter, Christopher Teale, Danièle Meunier, Patrick Butaye, Alessia Franco, Andra Utinane, Alice Amado, Miguel Moreno, Christina Greko, Katharina Stärk, Christian Berghold, Anna-Liisa Myllyniemi, Dariusz Wasyl, Marianne Sunde, Frank M Aarestrup.


The project “Antibiotic resistance in bacteria of animal origin – II” (ARBAO-II) was funded by the European Union (FAIR5-QLK2-2002-01146) for the period 2003–2005, with the aim to establish a continuous monitoring of antimicrobial susceptibility among veterinary laboratories in European countries based on validated and harmonised methodologies. Available summary data of the susceptibility testing of the bacterial pathogens from the different laboratories were collected.

Antimicrobial susceptibility data for several bovine pathogens were obtained over a three year period (2002–2004). Each year the participating laboratories were requested to fill in excel-file templates with national summary data on the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance from different bacterial species.

Data from 25,241 isolates were collected from 13 European countries. For Staphylococcus aureus from bovine mastitis major differences were apparent in the occurrence of resistance between countries and between the different antimicrobial agents tested. The highest frequency of resistance was observed for penicillin. For Mannheimia haemolytica resistance to ampicillin, tetracycline and trimethoprim/sulphonamide were observed in France, the Netherlands and Portugal. All isolates of Pasteurella multocida isolated in Finland and most of those from Denmark, England (and Wales), Italy and Sweden were susceptible to the majority of the antimicrobials. Streptococcus dysgalactiae and Streptococcus uberis isolates from Sweden were fully susceptible. For the other countries some resistance was observed to tetracycline, gentamicin and erythromycin. More resistance and variation of the resistance levels between countries were observed for Escherichia coli compared to the other bacterial species investigated.

In general, isolates from Denmark, England (and Wales), the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland showed low frequencies of resistance, whereas many isolates from Belgium, France, Italy, Latvia and Spain were resistant to most antimicrobials tested. In the future, data on the prevalence of resistance should be used to develop guidelines for appropriate antimicrobial use in veterinary medicine.

Partial Text

Antimicrobial agents are widely used for the treatment of bovine mastitis, respiratory tract infections and diarrhoea in cattle. During acute infections and outbreaks of infectious disease in groups or herds it is important to use an effective antimicrobial treatment as early as possible. This empirical treatment is generally based on knowledge of the resistance pattern of the different bacterial pathogens to antimicrobial agents used in the particular animal species.

Susceptibility data were obtained from 25,241 bacterial isolates isolated in 13 European countries over a three year period, 2002–2004 (Table 1). Not all countries were equal participants in that some countries submitted data on a single bacterial species, e.g. Belgium, Finland, Latvia, Portugal and Norway, whereas other countries provided data for multiple bacterial species.

The data presented in this report originate from samples submitted to diagnostic laboratories in different countries. It was generally impossible to retrieve data on the specific age of the animals and additionally, the specific microbiological methods used to isolate and identify the organisms remained unreported. All participating laboratories are, however, appointed national reference laboratories for antimicrobial resistance.

A frequent occurrence of resistance to several antimicrobial agents was observed and major differences between countries are apparent. This may reflect differences in the antimicrobial use between countries and veterinarians.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

RSH provided data, discussed the results gained, drafted, and revised the manuscript. DJM, AS, CT, DM, PB, AF, AU, AA, MM, CG, KS, CB, AM, DW, and MS provided data, discussed the results gained, and participated in revising the manuscript. FMA provided data, discussed the results gained, assisting drafting and revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.




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