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“NARMS Now: Human Data” paints national picture of antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

Author: CDC Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases (DFWED)

Infographic: See how antibiotic resistance can spread from food animals to people.
Infographic: See how antibiotic resistance can spread from food animals to people.

Wondering how antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria has changed over time? You’re in luck. With CDC’s new interactive tool, NARMS Now: Human Data, you can view trends in antibiotic resistance over the past two decades for four bacteria transmitted commonly through food: Campylobacter, E. coli O157, Salmonella, and Shigella.

Antibiotics have been prescribed by doctors for the past 70 years to treat patients who have infections, and they have greatly reduced sickness and deaths since the 1940s. However, some bacteria have adapted to antibiotics, making drugs less effective.  Injudicious use of antibiotics in humans and animals has made this problem worse.  

Why should we care? Each year in the United States, about 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant infections from foodborne bacteria cause about 440,000 of those illnesses. These infections can be severe, difficult to treat, and expensive.

NARMS Now: Human Data shows what is happening with some resistant infections state by state and across the country. The interactive program contains human antibiotic resistance data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), which is a partnership among CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and state and local health departments. NARMS tracks information about antibiotic resistance in foodborne bacteria from three sources: humans (CDC), retail meats (FDA), and food animals (USDA).

Antibiotic resistance trends for 4 foodborne bacteria NARMS Now Human data

With NARMS Now: Human Data, you can search by type of bacteria, name of antibiotic, year (1996-2013), and geographic region. Results are displayed on interactive maps and graphs or in tables. You also can download your search or all program data to your desktop or device.  

NARMS Now: Human Data can be used to:

  • Monitor trends in resistance: Investigators are using NARMS data to help figure out why antibiotic resistance has increased in a type of Salmonella, I 4,[5],12,:i:-,which has emerged recently in the United States.
  • View the geographic distribution of resistance: Researchers are using NARMS data to investigate the geographic distribution of certain types of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections.
  • Inform regulatory agency action: FDA withdrew approval for use of the antibiotic enrofloxacin in poultry after NARMS data showed an increase in human Campylobacter infections resistant to enrofloxacin’s drug class.

Check out the program at and the NARMS website at We encourage you to explore!

Posted on by CDC's Safe Healthcare Blog

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