Detection of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli in Market-Ready Chickens in Zambia

Author(s): Dr. Bernard Hang’ombe , Prof. Mecky Matee

The frequent administering of antibiotics in the treatment of poultry diseases may contribute to emergence of antimicrobial-resistant strains. The objective of this study was to detect the presence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase- (ESBL-) producing Escherichia coli in poultry in Zambia. A total of 384 poultry samples were collected and analyzed for ESBL-producing Escherichia coli. The cultured E. coli isolates were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility tests and the polymerase chain reaction for detection of , , and  genes. Overall 20.1%, 77/384, (95% CI; 43.2–65.5%) of total samples analyzed contained ESBL-producing Escherichia coli. The antimicrobial sensitivity test revealed that 85.7% (66/77; CI: 75.7–92) of ESBL-producing E. coli isolates conferred resistance to beta-lactam and other antimicrobial agents. These results indicate that poultry is a potential reservoir for ESBL-producing Escherichia coli. The presence of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli in poultry destined for human consumption requires strengthening of the antibiotic administering policy. This is important as antibiotic administration in food animals is gaining momentum for improved animal productivity in developing countries such as Zambia.


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