The Prevalence of Multiple Antibiotic Resistance in Campylobacter spp. From Retail Poultry Meat

Marija Kurinčič1, Ingrid Berce2, Tina Zorman1 and Sonja Smole Možina1*

University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty, Department of Food Science and Technology, Jamnikarjeva 101, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

2Institute of Public Health Nova Gorica, Vipavska cesta 13, Rožna dolina, SI-5000 Nova Gorica, Slovenia

Article history:

Received October 7, 2004
Accepted February 28, 2005

Key words:

Campylobacter, poultry meat, antimicrobial resistance, multiple antibiotic resistance


Macrolides and fluoroquinolones are regarded as drugs of choice for the treatment of human Campylobacter infections. The use of antimicrobials for this purpose as well as in food animal production has resulted in the resistance of Campylobacter spp. to selected antibiotics. Since poultry is one of the most important sources of human Campylobacter infections the use of antibiotics in animal production can shorten the effective therapeutic life of antibiotics for human use. During 2001–2003, over 220 strains of C. jejuni and C. coli were isolated from 60 poultry meat samples from the retail market in Slovenia and further characterized by phenotypic and molecular methods. In this study, 55 sample-representative strains were tested for susceptibility to eight different antibiotics (ampicillin, amoxycillin/ clavulanic acid, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, pefloxacin and tetracycline). Phenotypic procedures (disc diffusion test, E-test) as well as molecular detection of mutations (mismatch amplification mutation assay (MAMA) polymerase chain reaction (PCR)) in case of ciprofloxacin resistance were used. When assuming the results about antibiotic resistance, only 38.2 % of strains tested were susceptible to all antibiotics tested. Regarding ciprofloxacin, 58.2 % of tested strains were found to be resistant (minimal inhibitory concentration, MIC>4 μg/mL). The occurrence of resistance was much higher in C. coli (75.9 %) than in C. jejuni (38.5 %) isolates. The resistance rates to pefloxacin, nalidixic acid, erythromycin and tetracycline were 58.2, 49.1, 14.5 and 12.7 %, respectively. Eleven percent of strains were resistant to erythromycin and ciprofloxacin and 12.7 % of strains were resistant to tetracycline and quinolones. The results show the need for monitoring the prevalence and antibiotic resistance of zoonotic bacteria such as Campylobacter as well as the multiresistance phenomenon of Campylobacter isolates from food in our country.

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