Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) is the principle cause of colibacillosis affecting poultry. The main challenge to the poultry industry is antimicrobial resistance and the emergence of multidrug resistant bacteria that threaten the safety of the food chain. Risk factors associated with emergence of antimicrobial resistance among avian pathogenic E. coli were correlated with the inappropriate use of antimicrobials along with inadequate hygienic practices, which encourages the selection pressure of antimicrobial resistant APEC. The aim of this study was to isolate, identify, serogroup and genotype APEC from broilers, assess their antibiotic resistance profile, expressed genes and the associated risk factors.
APEC was isolated from the visceral organs of sick chickens with a prevalence of 53.4%. The most prevalent serotypes were O1, O2, O25 and O78, in percentage of 14.8, 12.6, 4.4 and 23.7%, respectively. Virulence Associated Genes; SitA, iss, iucD, iucC, astA, tsh cvi and irp2 were detected in rate of 97.4, 93.3, 75, 74, 71, 46.5, 39 and 34%, respectively and 186 (69.2%) isolates possess > 5-10 genes. The highest resistance was found against sulphamethoxazole-trimethoprim, florfenicol, amoxicillin, doxycycline and spectinomycin in percentage; 95.5, 93.7, 93.3, 92.2 and 92.2%, respectively. Sixty-eight percent of APEC isolates were found to have at least 5 out of 8 antimicrobial resistant genes. The most predominant genes were Int1 97%, tetA 78.4%, bla TEM 72.9%, Sul1 72.4%, Sul2 70.2%. Two risk factors were found to be associated with the presence of multi-drug resistant APEC in broiler chickens, with a P value ≤0.05; the use of ground water as source of drinking water and farms located in proximity to other farms.
This study characterized the VAGs of avian pathogenic E. coli and establish their antimicrobial resistance patterns. The widespread of antimicrobial resistance of APEC isolates and detection of ARGs highlighted the need to monitor the spread of ARGs in poultry farms and the environment in Jordan. Use of ground water and closely located farms were significant risk factors associated with the presence of MDR APEC in broiler chickens in Jordan.