Scientists are urging health authorities across the world to act quickly to treat and monitor a new strain of salmonella before it spreads across the world.
The new superbug, known as S. Kentucky, has recently emerged in Europe and has been indentified in France, England, Denmark and the UK.
It is thought the salmonella strain originated in Africa and as it has travelled through the Middle East towards Europe it has picked up drug-resistant properties.
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Research has suggested the bacteria initially emerged in poultry and then spread to farm animals.
A team of international researchers has warned that incidences of the superbug are growing, with 500 cases seen worldwide in 2008 compared to just a handful in 2002.
They have said this particular strain of salmonella is resistant to even the most powerful of antibiotics, including ciprofloxacin, one of the most common treatments for infections caused by the bacterial illness.
The researchers also believe the emergence of antibiotic-resistant salmonella has highlighted the importance of public health surveillance in the global food industry.
Results of their findings have been published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
One of the researchers, Dr Simon Le Hello, from the Institut Pasteur in Paris, said: “We hope that this publication might stir awareness among national and international health, food, and agricultural authorities so that they take the necessary measures to control and stop the dissemination of this strain before it spreads globally.”