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Presence of Multidrug-Resistant Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli, Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, and Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli on Fresh Cheeses from Local Retail Markets in Mexico

Rosa-Hernandez, Maria C. de la, Cardena-Ramirez, Arturo, Tellez-Jurado, Alejandro, Gomez-Aldapa, Carlos A., Rangel-Vargas, Esmeralda, Chavez-Urbiola, Edgar Arturo, Castro-Rosas, Javier
Journal of food protection 2018 v.81 no.11 pp. 1748-1754
Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, antibiotic resistance, antibiotics, cheesemaking, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, fecal bacteria, fresh cheeses, indicator species, indigenous peoples, markets, microbiological risk assessment, milk, most probable number technique, multiple drug resistance, pathotypes, polymerase chain reaction, public health, retail marketing, virulent strains, Latin America, Mexico
Cheesemaking is one of the most important industries in Mexico. Among all the Mexican cheeses, fresh cheeses are the most popular and most consumed cheese in Mexico and Latin America. However, in Mexico fresh cheese is frequently made with unpasteurized milk and sold in public markets. This may increase the risk for contamination of dairy products with pathogenic bacteria. The presence of multidrug-resistant pathogenic bacteria in food is an important public health concern. Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli pathotypes (DEPs) are foodborne bacteria. This study investigated the presence of indicator bacteria and multidrug-resistant DEPs in fresh cheeses. A total of 120 fresh cheese samples were collected from public markets in the city of Pachuca, Mexico. The samples were analyzed for presence of fecal coliforms (FC), E. coli, and antibiotic resistant DEPs. FC and E. coli were analyzed using the most-probable-number technique. DEPs were identified using two multiplex PCR methods. Susceptibility to 16 antibiotics was tested for the isolated DEPs strains by the standard assay. The frequency of FC, E. coli, and DEPs in the cheese samples was 50, 40, and 19%, respectively. The identified DEPs included Shiga toxin–producing E. coli (STEC; 8%), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC; 6%), and enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC; 5%). All isolated strains exhibited resistance to at least five antibiotics. One, one, two, and three STEC strains were resistant to 14, 12, 11, and 10 antibiotics, respectively. One strain of EPEC was resistant to 11 antibiotics, three EPEC strains to 9, and one strain to 7. One, one, and two strains of ETEC were resistant to 10, 8, and 7 antibiotics, respectively. The results of the present study indicate that fresh cheeses made with unpasteurized milk could be a risk for consumers, both for native people and visitors to Mexico.