Agersø, Yvonne1; Jensen, Jacob Dyring1; Hasman, Henrik2; Pedersen, Karl3
1 National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark2 Division of Epidemiology and Microbial Genomics, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark3 National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark4 Section for Bacteriology, Pathology and Parasitology, National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark
Objectives: This study investigated the occurrence of extended spectrum cephalosporinase (ESC)–producing Escherichia coli in a broiler production with no cephalosporin use and a low use of antimicrobials in general. Furthermore, it investigated whether the current consumption of aminopenicillins selects for ESC-producing E. coli and whether certain clones or plasmids spread from imported parent flocks to the meat. Materials and Methods: ESC-producing E. coli was isolated using MacConkey broth with 1 mg/L of ceftriaxone. ESC genes were identified using polymerase chain reaction and sequencing. Isolates with blaCMY-2 were subtyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), phylotyping, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Selected isolates were used as donors in filter-mating experiments, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), and plasmid replicons were typed. Aminopenicillin use at the farm (not flock) level was obtained from VetStat, a database for mandatory registration of veterinary prescriptions in Denmark. Results: ESC-producing E. coli occurred in 93% (27/29) of broiler parent farms in 2011, 27% (53/197) of broiler flocks in 2010, and 3.3% (4/121) of Danish retail broiler meat in 2009 and 8.6% (16/187) in 2010. The ESC producing E. coli contained blaCMY-2, blaSHV-2 or blaCTX-M-1. Isolates with blaCMY-2 represented 35 PFGE groups. One group dominated (39 isolates) and included isolates with indistinguishable PFGE patterns from parents, broilers, and meat. Most blaCMY-2 isolates were susceptible to non-β-lactams, and blaCMY-2 was mostly present on horizontally transferable incI1 or incK plasmids. Phylogroup D was most common and E. coli MLST types previously found in humans were observed. Broiler farms with registered aminopenicillin use had significantly higher occurrence of ESC E. coli. Conclusions: ESC-producing E. coli from flocks of imported broiler parents spread clonally and horizontally to broiler meat (including potentially human pathogenic types) even in a country with no cephalosporin use. Use of aminopenicillins may influence the persistence of ESC-producing E. coli in the broiler production, but other factors should be investigated.