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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2001 Jun;47(6):763-71.

Antibiotic resistance of faecal Escherichia coli in poultry, poultry farmers and poultry slaughterers.

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University Hospital Maastricht, Department of Medical Microbiology, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The percentage of faecal samples containing resistant Echerichia coli and the proportion of resistant faecal E. coli were determined in three poultry populations: broilers and turkeys commonly given antibiotics, and laying hens treated with antibiotics relatively infrequently. Faecal samples of five human populations were also examined: turkey farmers, broiler farmers, laying-hen farmers, broiler slaughterers and turkey slaughterers. The MICs of antibiotics commonly used in poultry medicine were also determined. Ciprofloxacin-resistant isolates from these eight populations and from turkey meat were genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) after SmaI digestion. The proportion of samples containing resistant E. coli and the percentages of resistant E. coli were significantly higher in turkeys and broilers than in the laying-hen population. Resistance to nearly all antibiotics in faecal E. coli of turkey and broiler farmers, and of turkey and broiler slaughterers, was higher than in laying-hen farmers. Multiresistant isolates were common in turkey and broiler farmers but absent in laying-hen farmers. The same resistance patterns were found in turkeys, turkey farmers and turkey slaughterers and in broiler, broiler farmers and broiler slaughterers. The PFGE patterns of the isolates from the eight populations were quite heterogeneous, but E. coli with an identical PFGE pattern were isolated at two farms from a turkey and the farmer, and also from a broiler and a broiler farmer from different farms. Moreover, three E. coli isolates from turkey meat were identical to faecal isolates from turkeys. The results of this study strongly indicate that transmission of resistant clones and resistance plasmids of E. coli from poultry to humans commonly occurs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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