Via a journal that’s new to me — the Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, the open-access journal of the Veterinary Associations of the Nordic Countries — comes an amazing review of the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in cattle in 13 European countries. Based on 25,241 isolates collected over three years, Denmark, Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland do well, but “many isolates from Belgium, France, Italy, Latvia and Spain were resistant to most antimicrobials tested.“
Most resistant pathogen: E. coli. MRSA is present as well:
Of major concern is the level of resistance to oxacillin and 3rd generation cephalosporins (i.e. ceftiofur) in S. aureus. The prevalence of oxacillin resistance in Spain (3.7%) and France (8.3%) and the resistance towards cephalosporins in Spain (0.9% in 2004) and France (4.2% in 2002; 1% in 2003) indicate the presence of methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in these two countries.
The authors ascribe the differences among countries to different patterns of antimicrobial use by veterinarians and stress that it is time for veterinarians to begin using measurements of local resistance patterns (in human medicine, an “antibiogram”) before prescribing.
Cite coming when the Acta site is updated. UPDATE: The paper is here; cite is: Hendriksen, RS et al. Prevalence of antimicrobial resistance among bacterial pathogens isolated from cattle in different European countries: 2002-2004. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2008, 50:28doi:10.1186/1751-0147-50-28.
I wasn’t aware that this same set of authors (Hendriksen, RS et al.) just a few weeks ago published a similar review of antimicrobial resistance in pigs in Europe. It looks at several bacterial species in pigs, but unfortunately for our purposes, no S. aureus.