[Estimation of the transfer of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli to humans in Germany]

Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. Nov-Dec 2014;127(11-12):464-77.
[Article in German]


In 2011 EFSA has evaluated the risk for the consumer caused by ESBL-/AmpC-producing bacteria in food of animal origin and in livestock animals. Human-to-human transfer in hospitals.and in the community was considered as the most relevant route of transmission for ESBL-producing E. coli. ESBL-/AmpC-producing E. coli are in Germany, as in many other Member States of the European Union, widely spread in food of animal origin and in livestock animals. In an assessment of the relevance of livestock animals as reservoir for ESBL-/AmpC-producing E. coli as well as for ESBL-coding resistance genes the heterogeneity of the resistance genes, plasmids and bacteria in animals, foods and humans needs to be considered. In this context, both, the clonal spread of bacteria as well as horizontal transfer of resistance genes, e. g. by plasmids, have to be analyzed. Whereas studies in The Netherlands identified poultry as the most relevant reservoir, the transfer of ESBL-gene carrying plasmids from pigs to the farmers was demonstrated in Denmark. First attempts to quantify the relevance of livestock animals as reservoir for ESBL-producing E. coli in Germany showed, that the proportions of the most frequent ESBL-resistance genes are quite different between animal and human derived E. coli isolates. If in addition properties of the bacterial cells, e.g. resistance to several antibiotic classes are considered, only a small proportion of human isolates showed the same patterns as animal isolates. The results achieved so far demonstrate that certain ESBL-types are prevalent in all livestock populations investigated. Currently, the majority of cases of colonizations with ESBL-producing E. coli among humans cannot be directly linked to livestock and food-producing animals as reservoirs. This reflects that transmission routes are more complex and other reservoirs and sources including human-human interactions have to be taken into consideration.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Infections / epidemiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / transmission*
  • Escherichia coli Infections / veterinary*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Livestock / microbiology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Swine
  • Zoonoses / microbiology
  • Zoonoses / transmission*
  • beta-Lactamases / genetics*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • beta-Lactamases