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Questions and answers on ESBL and AmpC-producing antimicrobial resistant bacteria

Updated FAQ at the BfR of 19 January 2015

Bacteria can be resistant to certain antibiotics. When this happens with pathogenic bacteria, these antibiotics remain ineffective if they are used to treat an illness caused by the bacteria.

Important antimicrobials towards which increasing resistance has been observed include the group of aminopenicillins and cephalosporins. One of the causes of this antimicrobial resistance are enzymes designated as"extended-spectrum beta-lactamases" (ESBL) and "ampC beta-lactamases" (AmpC). Bacteria require a certain "resistance gene" in order to produce these enzymes. This genetic property can be passed on from one bacteria generation to the next through cell division during propagation. During the lifetime of a bacterium, however, it can also be passed on from one bacteria cell to another on transmissible gene sections such as plasmids. These two cells can also belong to different bacteria types.

The use of antibiotics in humans and animals promotes the spread of ESBL and/or AmpC-producing bacteria because antimicrobial resistance means an advantage in the competition with other bacteria (types).

In recent years, there have been more and more reports about the expansive spread of ESBL and/or AmpC-producing bacteria among animals and in foods. A possible connection with human diseases is under discussion. In the following paragraphs, the BfR has compiled selected questions and answers on this subject.

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Date Title Size
19.01.2015
Updated FAQ at the BfR
Questions and answers on ESBL and AmpC-producing antimicrobial resistant bacteria 95.9 KB
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