Antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli recovered from feedlot cattle and associations with antimicrobial use

Katharine M. Benedict, Sheryl P. Gow, Tim A. McAllister, Calvin W. Booker, Sherry J. Hannon, Sylvia L. Checkley, Noelle R. Noyes, Paul S. Morley

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39 Scopus citations


The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and to investigate the associations between exposures to antimicrobial drugs (AMDs) and AMR in fecal non-type specific Escherichia coli (NTSEC) recovered from a large population of feedlot cattle. Two-stage random sampling was used to select individually identified cattle for enrollment, which were sampled at arrival and then a second time later in the feeding period. Advanced regression techniques were used to estimate resistance prevalences, and to investigate associations between AMD exposures in enrolled cattle and penmates and AMR identified in NTSEC recovered from the second sample set. Resistance was most commonly detected to tetracycline, streptomycin, and sulfisoxazole, and was rarely identified for critically important AMDs. All cattle were exposed to AMDs in feed, and 45% were treated parenterally.While resistance prevalence generally increased during the feeding period, most AMD exposures were not significantly associated with AMR outcomes. Exposures of enrolled cattle to tetracycline were associated with increased resistance to tetracycline and trimethoprim sulfa, while beta-lactam exposures were associated with decreased likelihood of detecting streptomycin resistance. Pen-level AMD exposure measures were not associated with resistance outcomes. These findings suggest that tetracycline treatment of feedlot cattle can be associated with modest increases in risk for recovery of resistant NTSEC, but the numerous treatments with an advanced macrolide (tulathromycin) were not associated with detectable increases in resistance in NTSEC. All cattle were exposed to in-feed treatments of tetracycline and this could limit the ability to identify the full impact of these exposures, but these exposures varied for enrolled cattle varied, providing an opportunity to evaluate a dose response. While AMD exposures were not associated with detectably increased risks for resistance to critically important AMDs, rare resistance outcomes and infrequent exposure to other important AMDs (e.g., cephalosporins) limited our ability to rigorously investigate questions regarding factors that can influence resistance to these important AMDs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0143995
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Benedict et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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