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Drug Resistance in Salmonella Typhimurium and its Implications

Br Med J 1968; 3 doi: (Published 10 August 1968) Cite this as: Br Med J 1968;3:333
  1. E. S. Anderson


    A rise in Salmonella typhimurium infection was observed in calves in Britain during 1964–6, follwing the adoption of the intensive farming method. A single phage type of S. typhimurium, type 29, was incriminated as the major pathogen. Attempts to treat and control the disease with a range of antibiotics were ineffective, but resulted in the acquisition of transferable multiple drug resistance by type 29. The transmission of drug-resistant type 29, directly or indirectly, from bovines to man resulted in many human infections. Transferable drug resistance reaching man from enterobacteria of animal origin may ultimately enter specifically human pathogens. Infections such as that caused by type 29 can be eliminated, not by the massive use of antibiotics but by improvement in conditions of animal husbandry and reduction in the opportunities for the initiation and spread of the disease. A reappraisal is needed of the methods of using antibiotics to determine how these methods can be improved, in order to conserve the long-term efficacy of the antibiotics.


    • * Adapted from a contribution to a Symposium on “The Use of Antibiotics—An Ecological Problem” held by the Ecological Research Committee of the Swedish Natural Science Research Council, Stockholm, Sweden, 21 May 1968.