Study: Salmonella Resistant to Drug
CHICAGO (AP) _ Salmonella illnesses resistant to the standard drug used to treat serious forms of the infection in children are emerging nationwide, government researchers warn.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documented 13 cases of salmonella infections resistant to the antibiotic ceftriaxone between 1996 and 1998. Three victims were hospitalized, but none died.
An additional 28 possible cases occurred in 1999, after the study ended, the researchers said in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Testing is being done to confirm those cases.
Though such infections have been reported abroad, as recently as 1995 a U.S. study indicated they had not yet shown up in this country.
Since there are an estimated 1.4 million salmonella infections annually in the United States, the findings suggest that several thousand are probably caused by a ceftriaxone-resistant strain, said Dr. Eileen Dunne, who led the study.
The study ``highlights that this is aggressive and worrisome,″ said Dr. Stanford Shulman, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Salmonella bacteria, which can be spread by eggs, chicken, milk and other foods, usually cause only mild intestinal symptoms, but about 600 people die from the bug each year and children are especially vulnerable to serious infections.
Ceftriaxone is the drug of choice for life-threatening salmonella infections in children, in part because it was believed that resistance to the medication was rare.
It is not the only such drug for children, but the choices are limited, said Dr. Marissa Miller, director of the antimicrobial resistance program at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The researchers said the findings illustrate the need to reduce the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and humans, which is thought to contribute to the emergence of drug-resistant germs.
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