- Effects of therapeutical and reduced levels of antibiotics on the fraction of antibiotic-resistant strains of Escherichia coli in the chicken gut
- Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
- Volume | Issue number
- 10 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Development of antibiotic resistance in the microbiota of farm animals and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the agricultural sector not only threaten veterinary use of antibiotics, but jeopardize human health care as well. The effects of exposure to antibiotics on spread and development of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli from the chicken gut were studied. Groups of 15 pullets each were exposed under strictly controlled conditions to a 2-day course of amoxicillin, oxytetracycline, or enrofloxacin, added to the drinking water either at full therapeutic dose, 75% of that, or at the carry-over level of 2.5%. During treatment and for 12 days afterwards, the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) for the applied antibiotics of E. coli strains isolated from cloacal swabs was measured. The full therapeutic dose yielded the highest percentage of resistant strains during and immediately after exposure. After 12 days without antibiotics, only strains from chickens that were given amoxicillin were significantly more often resistant than the untreated control. Strains isolated from pullets exposed to carry-over concentrations were only for a few days more often resistant than those from the control. These results suggest that, if chickens must be treated with antibiotics, a short intensive therapy is preferable. Even short-term exposure to carry-over levels of antibiotics can be a risk for public health, as also under those circumstances some selection for resistance takes place.
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