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Distribution of Antimicrobial Resistance and Virulence Genes in Enterococcus spp. and Characterization of Isolates from Broiler Chickens

Diarra, Moussa S., Rempel, Heidi, Champagne, Julie, Masson, Luke, Pritchard, Jane, Topp, Edward
Applied and environmental microbiology 2010 v.76 no.24 pp. 8033-8043
Enterococcus, antibiotic resistance, bacitracin, bile salts, broiler chickens, commercial farms, cross infection, feces, gelatin, genes, genotype, microarray technology, public health, tetracycline, virulence
Enterococci are now frequent causative agents of nosocomial infections. In this study, we analyzed the frequency and distribution of antibiotic resistance and virulence genotypes of Enterococcus isolates from broiler chickens. Fecal and cecal samples from nine commercial poultry farms were collected to quantify total enterococci. Sixty-nine presumptive enterococci were isolated and identified by API 20 Strep, and their susceptibilities to antibiotics were determined. Genotypes were assessed through the use of a novel DNA microarray carrying 70 taxonomic, 17 virulence, and 174 antibiotic resistance gene probes. Total enterococcal counts were different from farm to farm and between sample sources (P < 0.01). Fifty-one (74%) of the isolates were identified as E. faecium, whereas nine (13%), seven (10%), and two (3%) isolates were identified as E. hirae, E. faecalis, and E. gallinarum, respectively. Multiple-antibiotic resistance was evident in E. faecium and E. faecalis isolates. The most common multiple-antibiotic resistance phenotype was Bac Ery Tyl Lin Str Gen Tet Cip. Genes conferring resistance to aminoglycoside (aac, aacA-aphD, aadB, aphA, sat4), macrolide (ermA, ermB, ermAM, msrC), tetracycline (tetL, tetM, tetO), streptogramin (satG_vatE8), bacitracin (bcrR), and lincosamide (linB) antibiotics were detected in corresponding phenotypes. A range of 9 to 12 different virulence genes was found in E. faecalis, including ace, agg, agrBEfs (agrB gene of E. faecalis), cad1, the cAM373 and cCF10 genes, cob, cpd1, cylAB, efaAEfs, and gelE. All seven E. faecalis isolates were found to carry the gelE gene and to hydrolize gelatin and bile salts. Results from this study showed the presence of enterococci of public and environmental health concerns in broiler chicken farms and demonstrated the utility of a microarray to quickly and reliably analyze resistance and virulence genotypes of Enterococcus spp.