Modeling antimicrobial use and resistance in Canadian turkeys

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Expected marginal effects of antimicrobial use on the incidence of resistance to a number of antimicrobial classes in Escherichia coli (NCR) isolates.coli bacteria) of turkeys. The antimicrobials used were represented by the number of indicated daily doses per 1000 kg days of animals at risk. attributed to him: Frontiers in Microbiology (2022). DOI: 10.3389 / fmicb.2022.954123

Antimicrobial resistance in gut bacteria is constantly being discovered in poultry farms and retail poultry products worldwide, including turkey flocks. Of concern, observational information and studies on associations between antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial use in turkeys have been scarce over the past decade. In a new study, researchers across North America model 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 global health threat, with limited treatment options in animals and humans. Although antimicrobials help treat and control bacterial infections in poultry flocks, they also increase resistance because the remaining bacteria pass on their resistance genes not only to their offspring but also to other bacterial species. Furthermore, these bacteria can also be transmitted to humans through eating contaminated food or coming into contact with infected poultry.

Csaba Varga (IGOH), associate professor of epidemiology, and his research group used data collected by the Canadian Integrated Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program. From 2016 to 2019, veterinarians from every province in Canada visited turkey farms annually to collect data on antimicrobial use and obtain stool samples from randomly selected herds.

“Most researchers work on poultry, especially chickens. Not many researchers work on turkeys,” said Reema Shrestha, a postdoctoral researcher in Varga’s lab. “In Canada, they have integrated surveillance, which provides us with data on antimicrobial use and resistance.”

The researchers used Escherichia coli as an indicator of antimicrobial resistance because these bacteria are part of the intestinal flora in humans and animals. It can also be easily detected in stool and environmental samples. “E. coli can harbor antibiotic resistance genes that can maintain them and pass them on to other bacteria in the gut, making them good indications for antimicrobial use,” Varga said. Escherichia coli isolates from turkey stool samples were tested for susceptibility to 14 different antimicrobials.

To study the association between antimicrobial use and resistance, researchers used new modeling techniques that consider disease indications for antimicrobial use, amount of antimicrobial used, length 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, which led to the emergence of resistance to E. coli.” The researchers also found that treatment of certain diseases, including intestinal infections and blood infections caused by Escherichia 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 the data from the US so we can compare it to the Canadian data and understand how to mitigate Antimicrobial resistance. We need supervision efforts from turkey producers and veterinarians because it cannot be controlled by a single person or even a single farm.”

The study was published in Frontiers in Microbiology.

Antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria remains high in humans, animals and food

more information:
Rima D. Shrestha et al, Correlations between antimicrobial resistance in faecal Escherichia coli isolates and antimicrobial use in Canadian turkeys, Frontiers in Microbiology (2022). DOI: 10.3389 / fmicb.2022.954123

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