Recent research reveals that poultry products contained Campylobacter
jejuni, which had developed a resistance to the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, a
synthetic antibiotic used by humans to fight bacterial infections.
The prevalence of Campylobacter
- a major cause of foodborne illness - is
common in raw poultry, with Campylobacter jejuni predominantly pathogenic to
humans, reports Science Daily.
Researchers within the System Division of Agriculture at the University of
Arkansas examined 392 raw chicken carcasses purchased from two Fayetteville
grocery stores each week for nearly a year.
High levels of Campylobacter
It was discovered that 85% of the chicken purchased from one store had
countable levels of Campylobacter, including non-pathogenic species, with 27% of
it resistant to ciprofloxacin. At the second store, 46% of the carcasses had
detectable levels of Campylobacter and 6% of them were resistant to the
Related to other antibiotics
Ramakrishna Nannapaneni, who conducted the research, said ciprofloxacin has
never been used in animals. However, it is closely related to two other
antibiotics, enrofloxacin and sarafloxacin, which were previously approved for
usage in poultry between 1995 and 2000 before they were banned on 12 September,
"When Campylobacter became resistant to enrofloxacin or saraflo
xacin, it also showed cross-resistance to other fluoroquinolones (a group
of antibiotics), such as in human medicine against ciprofloxacin," he
Different levels of contamination
There was a difference in the levels of Campylobacter between the two
stores and also the levels of resistance to ciprofloxacin. Nannapaneni believes
this is possibly due to variations in packing and storage conditions at the two
stores, or perhaps the difference in management of the poultry before
"There is a clear need for monitoring the persistence and quantitative
reduction of the total antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter loads in the food
chain, particularly on raw animal food products, in efforts to control human
campylobacteriosis," Nannapaneni said.