ESBL-Producing Bacteria — From Chicken

Thomas Glück, MD


Journal Watch 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Escherichia coli, detected in 94% of retail chicken meat samples in the Netherlands, is probably transmitted through the food chain to humans.


Recent years have seen an alarming worldwide rise in the incidence of infections caused by multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria that produce extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs). Now, researchers in the Netherlands have used molecular methods to examine the relation among ESBL-producing bacteria in retail chicken meat, in poultry isolates from a prevalence survey, and in human patients.

Ninety-eight fresh, raw chicken breasts bought in 12 stores in Utrecht in 2010 were sampled. ESBL-producing Escherichia coli was isolated from 92 (94%) of the samples (total, 163 isolates). Further analysis of 81 isolates from 42 samples revealed genes from six ESBL groups. Taken together, bla CTX-M-1 and bla TEM-52 — both considered "poultry associated" — accounted for 75% of these genes.

A similar distribution (but lower frequency) of ESBL-producing bacteria was seen in a prevalence survey of poultry in the Netherlands in 2006. Ten percent of E. coli and Salmonella enterica isolates from poultry harbored ESBL genes, with bla CTX-M-1 and bla TEM-52 together accounting for 78% of these genes.

ESBL-producing E. coli isolates from humans, submitted by 31 Dutch laboratories between February and April 2009, were also analyzed. Of these 409 isolates, 35% contained poultry-associated ESBL genes and 19% contained poultry-associated ESBL genes located on plasmids; again, bla CTX-M-1 and bla TEM-52 were the most prevalent (taken together, 86%).


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