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Clonal spread of Escherichia coli resistant to cephalosporins and quinolones in the Nordic broiler production

Myrenås, Mattias, Slettemeås, Jannice Schau, Thorsteinsdottir, Thorunn R., Bengtsson, Björn, Börjesson, Stefan, Nilsson, Oskar, Landén, Annica, Sunde, Marianne
Veterinary microbiology 2018 v.213 pp. 123-128
Escherichia coli, antibiotic resistance, breeding, cephalosporins, epidemiology, fluoroquinolones, genetic relationships, international trade, intestinal microorganisms, loci, minimum inhibitory concentration, multiple-locus variable number tandem-repeat analysis, poultry production, public health, selection pressure, tandem repeat sequences, Scandinavia
The intestinal flora of healthy broilers can contain Escherichia coli resistant to extended spectrum cephalosporins (ESC) and fluoroquinolones (FQ), representing a possible public health problem. We investigated the clonal epidemiology of E. coli with reduced susceptibility to ESC or FQ in broilers in three Nordic countries interconnected by a common source of breeding animals. Isolates (n = 319 and n = 132 non-wild type for ESC and FQ, respectively) from Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic production originated mainly from the intestinal flora of broilers at the age of 20–35 days. Genetic relationships were investigated by ten loci multilocus variable number tandem repeat analyses (MLVA) and representative isolates of inter-Nordic clusters were subjected to multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Antimicrobial susceptibility data based on minimum inhibitory concentrations was compiled. Approximately one third of the ESC non-wild type isolates, including isolates from all three countries, clustered together. These isolates belonged to sequence type (ST) 38 and contained blaCMY-2. The FQ non-wild type isolates were more genetically diverse, but related isolates occurred in more than one country. MLST typing showed clusters belonging to ST10, ST355, ST349, ST665 and ST93. Our study demonstrated inter-Nordic distribution of E. coli ST38 with blaCMY-2, suggesting clonal proliferation as a contributing factor for spread of ESC resistance in the broiler production. The international trade in breeding material may explain introduction of resistant E. coli. The reason for their success and the success of certain clonal lineages in broiler production not exposed to antimicrobial selection pressure is currently unknown.