Low levels of antibacterial drug resistance expressed by Gram-negative bacteria isolated from poultry carcasses in New Zealand

Low levels of antibacterial drug resistance expressed by Gram-negative bacteria isolated from poultry carcasses in New Zealand
Peer reviewed

Abstract

AIM: To provide baseline data on the levels and patterns of antibacterial drug resistance expressed by Gram-negative bacteria isolated from poultry carcasses in New Zealand.
METHODS: Between July and December 2006, isolates of Escherichia coli (n=407) and Salmonella spp. (n=3) originating from carcass-rinse samples were submitted by testing laboratories affiliated to five major poultry processing plants. Isolates of Campylobacter jejuni (n=193) originating from retail poultry carcasses in 2005–2006 were retrieved from the Massey University archives. All isolates underwent disc diffusion susceptibility testing against panels of 12 (Enterobacteriaceae) and six (Campylobacter spp.) antibacterial drugs. Cephalothin-resistance in isolates of E. coli was confirmed using ETest strips, and confirmation of the resistance phenotypes for a subset of C. jejuni isolates used microbroth dilution assays. Patterns within the resistance phenotypes of the isolates were investigated using hierarchical clustering, and logistic regression modelling.
RESULTS: The majority of isolates (71.5% E. coli, 99% C. jejuni, and all three Salmonella spp. isolates) were fully susceptible to the drugs that were tested. Four (1%) E. coli isolates showed resistance to three or more drugs. The proportions of susceptible E. coli differed between the five processing plants. Resistances were detected in E. coli isolates, using disc diffusion to cephalothin (18.2%), ampicillin (4.4%), tetracycline (4.4%) and gentamicin (1.5%). There was an association between cephalothin-resistant isolates of E. coli and decreased susceptibility to gentamicin. Using ETests to ascertain the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of E. coli for cephalothin gave inconsistent results. One of 193 C. jejuni isolates was resistant to erythromycin, and microbroth dilution assays confirmed that this panel of C. jejuni was generally susceptible to antibacterial drugs.
CONCLUSIONS: The levels of resistance shown by Gram-negative bacteria isolated from chicken carcasses in New Zealand are among the lowest reported around the world. No resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporin drugs was detected in E. coli, suggesting that CTX-M and AmpC beta-lactamases are rare or absent. Salmonella spp. are rarely isolated from poultry carcasses during routine testing in New Zealand, and the isolates identified during this study were fully susceptible to the drugs tested. A panel of C. jejuni isolates originating from retail poultry carcasses were susceptible to first-line and second-line antibacterial drugs. The use of cephalothin as a marker of resistance to first-generation cephalosporins may not be appropriate for non-type-specific E. coli of animal origin.
KEY WORDS: Antibacterial resistance, antibiotic resistance, antimicrobial resistance, Campylobacter jejuni, carcass rinse, cephalothin, chicken, disc diffusion, Escherichia coli, poultry, Salmonella


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