Sources of Antimicrobial Resistance

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Science  27 Sep 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6153, pp. 1460-1461
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243444

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The relentless rise in levels of antimicrobial resistance is an unfolding global public health crisis (1). Resistance to frontline antimicrobials such as fluoroquinolones, third- and fourth-generation cephalosporins, and carbapenems is a particular concern, as is multidrug resistance. The antimicrobial resistance problem is not confined to human medicine: Comparable quantities of antimicrobials are used in livestock production, and resistance is rife in that setting, too, even on organic farms that restrict drug usage (2). Such observations have led to debate about whether antimicrobial resistance in farm animals is an important source of antimicrobial resistance in humans (3, 4). On page 1514 of this issue, Mather et al. (5) shed light on this important question in the context of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 in humans and cattle in Scotland.