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The emergence of multidrug-resistant microorganisms (MDRO) is a major threat to both human and animal health. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a complex phenomenon driven by many interconnected factors, such as the interaction of human, animal and environmental sources for AMR. Therefore, the aims of combating AMR and preserving the efficacy of the currently available antimicrobial agents in human and veterinary medicine as well as in different ecological systems must be addressed in an interdisciplinary effort within a “One Health” approach. Therefore, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research had funded interdisciplinary research consortia to bundle the expertise of physicians, veterinarians, biologists, epidemiologists, agricultural scientists and other researchers in order to study the genetics of MDRO, characterize transmission routes, perform risk assessments and assess preventive measures with the overriding aim to contain AMR.
The activities were focused on two major groups of MDRO: The consortium MedVet-Staph (www.medvetstaph.net) investigated the zoonotic impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other staphylococci, while the consortium RESET (www.reset-verbund.de) studied extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing as well as fluoroquinolone-resistant enterobacteria and other Gram-negative MDRO. Within the past six years, these two research consortia have published numerous original research articles and reviews and have presented their work in a series of oral presentations and posters at international congresses. They have translated their scientific results into practical solutions for improving diagnostics, surveillance and prevention of AMR. This has also enabled the use of the “One Health” data obtained by the RESET and MedVet-Staph consortia for Public Health and political stakeholders.
This special issue of Veterinary Microbiology comprises a collection of reviews and original research articles from the MedVet-Staph and RESET consortia giving a flavour of their wide-ranging activities. The following paragraphs provide a short summary of the different studies compiled in this special issue based on their assignment to topics of the research activities in both consortia.