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Salmonella superbug a public health threat

AAP logoAAP 27/10/2016 Rebecca Gredley

A drug-resistant salmonella strain found in a domestic cat may be highly transferable and could pose a serious threat to public health.

The strain is resistant to carbapenems, a drug used as the last line of defence in Australian hospitals, which has prompted Murdoch University researcher Sam Abraham to study the full risk of the bug to understand its origin and characteristics.

"This is the first time that a salmonella strain with resistance to most antimicrobial drugs has been reported in any Australian domestic animal and it is a significant concern to public health," Dr Abraham said.

The infected cat was admitted to a vet clinic in NSW and has since been euthanased.

Dr Abraham said three animals also at the veterinary clinic were found to be carrying the bacteria, indicating the bug may be highly transferable.

The strain has previously been recorded in a seagull colony off NSW, and while it is not known how they were infected, it is possible the bacteria occurs naturally in the environment.

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