Antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli strains isolated in 1991 and 2001-2002 from poultry and humans in Berlin, Germany

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2003 Dec;47(12):3825-30. doi: 10.1128/AAC.47.12.3825-3830.2003.


The susceptibilities of 430 Campylobacter jejuni strains and 79 C. coli strains to six antimicrobial agents were tested and analyzed. The two sets of strains originated from retail market chicken and turkey samples and from humans, respectively, in Berlin, Germany. Two groups of isolates, one dating from 1991 and the other dating from 2001-2002, were tested. Of the Campylobacter sp. isolates recovered from humans in 2001-2002, 45.1% were resistant to ciprofloxacin, 37.8% were resistant to tetracycline, 12.8% were resistant to ampicillin, and 50.0% were resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. All isolates were susceptible to gentamicin, while the overall rate of resistance to erythromycin was 6.1%. During the 10 years between the two sampling times, the rates of resistance to ciprofloxacin (P<0.001), ampicillin (P=0.035), and tetracycline (P=0.01) increased significantly among strains isolated from humans. Furthermore, among human C. coli strains the rate of resistance to erythromycin rose from 7.1% in 1991 to 29.4% in 2001-2002. In comparison, Campylobacter sp. isolates from poultry already had high rates of resistance in 1991. Different rates of resistance to tetracycline among isolates from chickens and turkeys suggested the development of resistance during antimicrobial treatment in food animals. Thus, discrepancies in the antimicrobial resistance rates among Campylobacter isolates originating from poultry and humans support the hypothesis that at least some of the resistant Campylobacter strains causing infection in humans come from sources other than poultry products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Berlin / epidemiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / epidemiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology*
  • Campylobacter Infections / veterinary*
  • Campylobacter coli / drug effects*
  • Campylobacter jejuni / drug effects*
  • Chickens
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Food Microbiology
  • Humans
  • Meat / microbiology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Poultry / microbiology*
  • Poultry Diseases / epidemiology
  • Poultry Diseases / microbiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Turkeys


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents