The National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), established in 1996, is out with its latest data—covering the year 2014 and showing low levels of salmonella in poultry and meat in the United States.

NARMS, founded in 1998, involves state and local public health departments and universities in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

NARMS_406X250NARMS collects surveillance data from human clinical samples, slaughter samples and retail meat samples and tracks changes in the antimicrobial susceptibility of enteric (intestinal) bacteria found in ill people (CDC), retail meats (FDA), and food animals (USDA) in the U.S. NARMS data is used by FDA to make regulatory decisions designed to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics for humans and animals.

In the latest report, NARMS found measurable decreases in salmonella present in retail chicken and ground turkey.  More specifically, NARMS found that salmonella recovery continued to decline in poultry sources to the lowest levels in 20 years of joint testing. Salmonella prevalence reached 9.1 percent in chicken and 5.5 percent in ground turkey while remaining below 1.5 percent in beef (at 0.8 percent) and 1.3 percent in pork. A consistent decline in the proportion of salmonella isolates from retail chicken meat that are multi-drug resistant was also called out.

Both food safety advocates and the poultry and meat industries are encouraged by the report because the findings are encouraging news for both reducing foodborne illness and curbing antimicrobial resistance.

The 33-page report includes some new enhancements.

“The isolate level database, which was originally published in August 2015, contains the entire collection of NARMS enteric bacterial isolates tested and shows data for Salmonella, Campylobacter, E. coli, and Enterococcus. For this report, the database has been updated with information on Salmonella resistance genes and gene mutations associated with resistance,”says the report.

It also includes the addition to new Whole Genome Sequence (WGS) data, an expanded testing range for streptomycin, updates on Nontyphoidal Salmonella. These are serotypes other than Typhi, Paratyphi A, Paratyphi B, and Paratyphi C.

“Nontyphoidal Salmonella infections cause an estimated 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths each year in the United States. Direct medical costs are estimated to be $3.6 billion annually,” according to the report.

“Physicians rely on antimicrobial drugs such as ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin for treating patients with severe Salmonella infection. Therefore, preventing resistance to these antimicrobials is important. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 drug-resistant nontyphoidal Salmonella infections and 40 deaths occur annually in the United States,” it added.


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