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Vet Microbiol. 2009 Sep 18;138(3-4):339-44. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.03.029. Epub 2009 Mar 28.

Prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli isolates in faecal samples of broilers.

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Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Departamento de Ciências Veterinárias, Vila Real, Portugal.


Seventy-six faecal samples were obtained from broilers at slaughterhouse level in Portugal. Samples were inoculated on cefotaxime-supplemented Levine agar plates. Cefotaxime-resistant Escherichia coli isolates were recovered from 32 samples (42.1%), obtaining a total of 34 E. coli isolates (one or two isolates per sample). Susceptibility to 16 antibiotics was studied by disk diffusion method, and 85% of the isolates presented a phenotype of multi-resistance that included antimicrobial agents of at least four different families. Extended-spectrum-beta-lactamases (ESBL) of the TEM and CTX-M groups were detected in 31 ESBL-positive E. coli isolates. Twenty-six isolates harboured the bla(TEM-52) gene and two of them also harboured bla(TEM-1b). The bla(CTX-M-14) gene was identified in three isolates (in association with bla(TEM-1b) in one of them), and bla(CTX-M-32) was demonstrated in two additional isolates. Three of the 34 cefotaxime-resistant isolates (9%) did not produce ESBLs, and two of them presented mutations at positions -42 (C-->T), -18 (G-->A), -1 (C-->T), and +58(C-->T) of the promoter/attenuator region of ampC gene. tet(A) and/or tet(B) genes were detected in all 34 tetracycline-resistant isolates, aadA in all 26 streptomycin-resistant isolates; cmlA in 3 of 6 chloramphenicol-resistant isolates, and aac(3)-II or aac(3)-I + aac(3)-IV genes in all 4 gentamicin-resistant isolates. Different combinations of sul1, sul2 and sul3 genes were demonstrated among the 22 trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole-resistant isolates. Amino acid changes in GyrA and ParC proteins were identified in all 18 ciprofloxacin-resistant isolates. The results of this study indicate that the intestinal tract of healthy poultry is a reservoir of ESBL-positive E. coli isolates.

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