The antimicrobial susceptibility of isolates of Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhimurium, Enteritidis, and Infantis isolated from humans, foodstuffs and farm animals in Italy between 1999 and 2001 was examined. All the isolates were susceptible to cefotaxime and ciprofloxacin, but high rates of resistance were observed for several other drugs, especially for S. Typhimurium. The rates of resistance and multiresistance were generally higher among animal and food isolates than in human strains; conversely, no significant difference was observed between animal and food isolates. Among S. Typhimurium, multiresistance was more common in bovine, poultry and rabbit strains than in swine isolates, and was rare in strains from pigeon. Resistance to trimethoprim–sulphamethoxazole was mainly found in isolates of swine and human origin. This study confirms the role of livestock as a reservoir of drug-resistant Salmonella spp. and underlines the need for integrated surveillance systems of antibiotic resistance that consider isolates not only from human disease but also from the animal reservoirs and the food vehicles.
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