Antibiotic Resistance and Virulence Gene Patterns Associated with Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) from Broiler Chickens in Qatar
Sara H, Al-Hadidi
Mahmoud H, Mahmoud
Nahla O, Eltai
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Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) is the contributing agent behind the avian infectious disease colibacillosis, which causes substantial fatalities in poultry industries that has a significant impact on the economy and food safety. Several virulence genes have been shown to be concomitant with the extraintestinal survival of APEC. This study investigates the antibiotic resistance patterns and APEC‐associated virulence genes content in Escherichia coli isolated from non‐healthy and healthy broiler chickens from a commercial poultry farm in Qatar. A total of 158 E. coli strains were isolated from 47 chickens from five different organs (air sac, cloacal, kidney, liver, and trachea). Based on genetic criteria, 65% were APEC strains containing five or more virulence genes, and 34% were non‐pathogenic E. coli (NPEC) strains. The genes ompT, hlyF, iroN, tsh, vat, iss, cvi/cva, and iucD were significantly prevalent in all APEC strains. E. coli isolates showed 96% resistance to at least one of the 18 antibiotics, with high resistance to ampicillin, cephalothin, ciprofloxacin, tetracycline, and fosfomycin. Our findings indicate high antibiotic resistance prevalence in nonhealthy and healthy chicken carcasses. Such resistant E. coli can spread to humans. Hence, special programs are required to monitor the use of antibiotics in chicken production in Qatar.
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