IDWeek: Antibiotic-free poultry half as likely to contain multidrug-resistant Salmonella


Meat from conventionally raised poultry was twice as likely to contain multidrug-resistant Salmonella when compared with poultry labelled antibiotic-free or organic, according to a study presented at IDWeek (2–6 October 2019, Washington, DC, USA).

A related study at the conference also assessed meat purchased from randomly selected stores, discovering that nearly one-third of Salmonella in contaminated samples was resistant to three or more antibiotics.

Eating Salmonella-contaminated meat that has not been properly handled or cooked if one of the most common causes of the infection, and with growing antibiotic resistance, treatment could become challenging.

In the first study the team assessed data taken from poultry purchased between 2008 and 2017, discovering that 10.2% (280 of the 2733 samples) were contaminated with non-typhoidal Salmonella, significantly more than the 5.3% (40 out of 748 samples) of poultry labelled organic or antibiotic-free.

The team uncovered that Salmonella from conventional poultry exhibited significantly higher resistance to 4 drug classes including beta-lactams. Moreover, 68 conventionally raised isolates and 3 antibiotic-free isolates contained the gene blaCMY-2, which confers an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase.

The second study assessed poultry, ground beef and pork chop samples purchased between 2015 and 2017, discovering that 96 out of 2520 samples contained non-typhoidal Salmonella. The team then carried out tests of the contaminated meat samples to determine the Salmonella’s susceptibility to a panel of 15 antibiotics. They discovered that 29.2% of contaminated samples were resistant to three or more classes of antibiotic, with 17.7% of isolates resistant to five or more classes.

The team also collected samples from human Salmonella infection in the same time period, discovering that 25.7% were resistant to three or more antibiotics and 11% were resistant to five or more antibiotics.

Author on both studies, Nkuchia M. M’ikanatha (National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, PA, USA) concluded: “These findings underscore how important it is to use antibiotics judiciously, not only in human medicine but in food-producing animals. We found a significant percentage of Salmonella bacteria in meat that causes infection in humans were resistant to three or more antibiotics, meaning treatments may not work for some patients who really need them.”

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Sources: Yin X, M’ikanatha NM, Dettinger L et al. Antimicrobial resistance in non-typhoidal Salmonella from retail poultry meat by antibiotic usage-related production claims – Pennsylvania, 2008–2017. Presented at IDWeek 2019, Washington, DC, USA, 2–6 October 2019 (Abstract 102); M’ikanatha NM, Kline KE, Boktor S et al. Integrated surveillance for antimicrobial-resistance in Salmonella from clinical and retail meat sources — Pennsylvania, 2015–2017. Presented at IDWeek 2019, Washington, DC, USA, 2–6 October 2019 (Abstract 628).


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