Journal Article

Molecular Analysis of <i>Escherichia coli</i> from Retail Meats (2002–2004) from the United States National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System

James R. Johnson, James S. McCabe, David G. White, Brian Johnston, Michael A. Kuskowski and Patrick McDermott

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 49, issue 2, pages 195-201
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/599830
Molecular Analysis of Escherichia coli from Retail Meats (2002–2004) from the United States National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System

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Background.The origins and virulence potential of meat product-associated Escherichia coli are undefined.

Methods.Two hundred eighty-seven E. coli isolates (145 resistant and 142 susceptible to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, nalidixic acid, and/or ceftiofur), recovered by the United States National Antimicrobial Monitoring System from retail beef, pork, chicken, and turkey products (from Oregon, Tennessee, Georgia, and Maryland, 2002–2004) underwent polymerase chain reaction testing for phylogenetic groupings and 59 virulence-associated genes.

Results.However analyzed, resistant and susceptible isolates differed minimally according to the assessed characteristics. In contrast, the 4 meat types differed greatly for multiple individual traits and aggregate virulence scores. Poultry isolates exhibited virulence genes associated with avian pathogenic E. coli; beef isolates exhibited traits associated with E. coli from diseased cattle. Overall, 20% of isolates qualified as extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, with poultry isolates exhibiting significantly higher virulence scores than beef and pork isolates (P<.001 ).

Conclusions.Within this systematically collected, geographically distributed sample of recent retail meat isolates, the carriage of extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli virulence genes in antimicrobial-resistant and antimicrobial-susceptible E. coli appeared similar, whereas isolates from different types of meat differed, consistent with on-farm acquisition of resistance within host species-specific E. coli populations. A substantial minority of meat-source E. coli (whether susceptible or resistant) may represent potential human pathogens.

Journal Article.  4019 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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