Extraintestinal pathogenic and antimicrobialresistant Escherichia coli, including sequence type 131 (ST131), from retail chicken breasts in the United States in 2013

James R. Johnson, Stephen B. Porter, Brian Johnston, Paul Thuras, Sarah Clock, Michael Crupain, Urvashi Rangan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chicken meat products are hypothesized to be vehicles for transmitting antimicrobial-resistant and extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) to consumers. To reassess this hypothesis in the current era of heightened concerns about antimicrobial use in food animals, we analyzed 175 chicken-source E. coli isolates from a 2013 Consumer Reports national survey. Isolates were screened by PCR for ExPEC-defining virulence genes. The 25 ExPEC isolates (12% of 175) and a 2:1 randomly selected set of 50 non-ExPEC isolates were assessed for their phylogenetic/ clonal backgrounds and virulence genotypes for comparison with their resistance profiles and the claims on the retail packaging label ("organic," "no antibiotics," and "natural"). Compared with the findings for non-ExPEC isolates, the group of ExPEC isolates had a higher prevalence of phylogroup B2 isolates (44% versus 4%; P < 0.001) and a lower prevalence of phylogroup A isolates (4% versus 30%; P = 0.001), a higher prevalence of multiple individual virulence genes, higher virulence scores (median, 11 [range, 4 to 16] versus 8 [range, 1 to 14]; P = 0.001), and higher resistance scores (median, 4 [range, 0 to 8] versus 3 [range, 0 to 10]; P < 0.001). All five isolates of sequence type 131 (ST131) were ExPEC (P = 0.003), were as extensively resistant as the other isolates tested, and had higher virulence scores than the other isolates tested (median, 12 [range, 11 to 13] versus 8 [range, 1 to 16]; P = 0.005). Organic labeling predicted lower resistance scores (median, 2 [range, 0 to 3] versus 4 [range, 0 to 10]; P = 0.008) but no difference in ExPEC status or virulence scores. These findings document a persisting reservoir of extensively antimicrobial-resistant ExPEC isolates, including isolates from ST131, in retail chicken products in the United States, suggesting a potential public health threat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere02956-16
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Volume83
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Escherichia coli infections
  • ExPEC
  • Food safety
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Phylogenetic groups
  • ST131
  • Sequence types
  • Virulence
  • Virulence factors

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