Resistance of intestinal bacteria to antimicrobial drugs is constantly being detected in poultry plants and in retail poultry products around the world, including turkey flocks. Therefore, in the last decade there has been a paucity of observational and research information on the relationship between antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use in turkeys. In a new study, researchers across North America modeled how antimicrobial use affects the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli isolated from Canadian turkey flocks.
Antimicrobial resistance has long been identified as a threat to global health with limited treatment options in animals and humans. Although antimicrobials help treat and control bacterial infections in poultry flocks, they also lead to increased resistance because surviving bacteria pass their resistance genes not only to their offspring, but also to other bacterial species. In addition, these bacteria can also be transmitted to humans by eating contaminated food or contact with infected poultry.
Csaba Varga (IGOH), associate professor of epidemiology, and his research team used data collected by the Canadian Integrated Surveillance Program for Antimicrobial Resistance. Between 2016 and 2019, veterinarians from each Canadian province visited turkey farms annually to collect data on antimicrobial use and collect faecal samples from randomly selected flocks.
“Most researchers work with domestic birds, especially chickens. Not many researchers are working with turkeys,” said Rima Shrestha, research assistant at the Varga lab. “Canada has an integrative surveillance that gives us data on antimicrobial use and resistance.”
The researchers used E. coli as an indicator of antimicrobial resistance because these bacteria are part of the intestinal flora in humans and animals. They can also be easily detected in faecal and environmental samples. “Escherichia coli can contain antibiotic resistance genes that they can store and pass on to other bacteria in the gut, making them good indicators of antimicrobial use,” Varga said. Escherichia coli isolates from turkey faecal samples were tested for susceptibility to 14 different antimicrobials.
To examine the relationship between antimicrobial use and resistance, the researchers used new modeling techniques that took into account indication for antimicrobial use, amount of antimicrobial used, duration of treatment, bird weight, and route of administration.
“Our study shows that the use of antimicrobials in feed is a major driver of resistance,” Varga said. “In addition, antimicrobials were also injected into the eggs in the hatchery, causing E. coli to become resistant.” The researchers also found that the treatment of certain diseases, including intestinal infections and blood infections caused by E. coli, contributed to the development of antimicrobial resistance.
“We are currently working on studying antimicrobial resistance in other pathogens, including Salmonella and Campylobacter,” Shrestha said. “We also want to look at data from the US so we can compare it to Canadian data and understand how to mitigate resistance to antimicrobial drugs. We need a stewardship effort from turkey producers and veterinarians because this cannot be controlled by one person or even one farm.”
The study was published in Frontiers in Microbiology.
Rima D. Shrestha et al., Associations between antimicrobial resistance in fecal isolates of Escherichia coli and antimicrobial use in Canadian turkey flocks, Frontiers in Microbiology (2022). DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.954123
Citation: Modeling Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Canadian Turkey Flocks (2022, September 14) Retrieved September 14, 2022, from https://phys.org/news/2022-09-antimicrobial-resistance-canadian-turkey-flocks .html
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