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Vet Res. 2011 Mar 2;42:44. doi: 10.1186/1297-9716-42-44.

Estimation of transmission parameters of a fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli strain between pigs in experimental conditions.

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Anses, Fougères laboratory, BP 90203, F-35302 Fougères Cedex, France.


Antimicrobial resistance is of primary importance regarding public and animal health issues. Persistence and spread of resistant strains within a population contribute to the maintenance of a reservoir and lead to treatment failure. An experimental trial was carried out to study the horizontal transmission of a fluoroquinolone-resistant Escherichia coli strain from inoculated to naïve pigs. All naïve contact pigs had positive counts of fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli after only two days of contact. Moreover, re-infections of inoculated pigs caused by newly contaminated animals were suspected. A maximum likelihood method, based on a susceptible-infectious-susceptible (SIS) model, was used to determine the transmission parameters. Two transmission levels were identified depending on the quantity of bacteria shed by infected individuals: (i) low-shedders with bacterial counts of resistant E. coli in the faeces between 5*10(3) and 10(6) CFU/g (βL = 0.41 [0.27; 0.62]), (ii) high shedders with bacterial counts above 10(6) CFU/g (βH = 0.98 [0.59; 1.62]). Hence, transmission between animals could be pivotal in explaining the persistence of resistant bacteria within pig herds.

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