Prevalence and Transmission of Extended-Spectrum Cephalosporin (ESC) Resistance Genes in Escherichia coli Isolated from Poultry Production Systems and Slaughterhouses in Denmark

Meiyao Che, Tina Birk, Lisbeth Truelstrup Hansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The emergence of extended-spectrum cephalosporin (ESC)-resistant Escherichia coli is a global concern. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and transmission of ESC-resistant E. coli in the Danish broiler production system. Samples from two vertically integrated Production Systems (1 and 2) and two slaughterhouses (A and B) were analyzed (n = 943) for the occurrence of ESC-resistant E. coli from 2015 to 2018. ESC-resistant E. coli isolates were whole-genome sequenced (WGS) for characterization of the multi-locus sequence type (MLST), antibiotic resistance genes, virulence genes, and plasmid replicon types. An ad hoc core genome (cg) MLST based on 2513 alleles was used to examine the genetic relatedness among isolates. The prevalence of ESC-resistant E. coli in the conventional Production System 1 was 2.7%, while in Production System 2 the prevalence was 26.7% and 56.5% for samples from the conventional and organic production, respectively. The overall prevalence of ESC-resistant E. coli in broiler thigh and fecal samples ranged from 19.3% in Slaughterhouse A to 22.4% in Slaughterhouse B. In total, 162 ESC-resistant E. coli were isolated and shown to belong to 16 different sequence types (STs). The most prevalent STs were ST2040 (n = 85) and ST429 (n = 22). Seven ESC resistance genes were detected: blaCMY-2 (n = 119), blaTEM-52B (n = 16), blaCTX-M-1 (n = 5), blaTEM-52C (n = 3), blaCTX-M-14 (n = 1), blaSHV-12 (n = 1), and up-regulation of ampC (n = 16), with an unknown resistance gene in one isolate (n = 1). The carriage of blaCMY-2 in 119 isolates was primarily associated with IncI1 (n = 87), and IncK plasmids (n = 31). Highly similar blaCMY-2 carrying E. coli isolates from ST429 were found in production systems as well as in slaughterhouses. In conclusion, findings from this study indicate that ESC-resistant E. coli are transferred vertically from farms in the production systems to slaughterhouses with the potential to enter the food supply.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1602
JournalAntibiotics
Volume12
Issue number11
Number of pages16
ISSN2079-6382
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Poultry production systems
  • Slaughterhouses
  • ESC-resistant E. coli

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