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Emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli among Australian chickens in the absence of fluoroquinolone use

Abraham, S., Sahibzada, S.ORCID: 0000-0001-7362-8323, Hewson, K., Laird, T., Abraham, R., Pavic, A., Truswell, A., Lee, T., O’Dea, M.ORCID: 0000-0002-2757-7585 and Jordan, D. (2020) Emergence of fluoroquinolone-resistant Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli among Australian chickens in the absence of fluoroquinolone use. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 86 (8). e02765.

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In a structured survey of all major chicken-meat producers in Australia, we investigated the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and genomic characteristics of Campylobacter jejuni (n = 108) and C. coli (n = 96) from cecal samples of chickens at slaughter (n = 200). The majority of the C. jejuni (63%) and C. coli (86.5%) samples were susceptible to all antimicrobials. Fluoroquinolone resistance was detected among both C. jejuni (14.8%) and C. coli (5.2%), although this only included three sequence types (STs) and one ST, respectively. Multidrug resistance among strains of C. jejuni (0.9%) and C. coli (4.1%) was rare, and fluoroquinolone resistance, when present, was never accompanied by resistance to any other agent. Comparative genome analysis demonstrated that Australian isolates were found dispersed on different branches/clusters within the international collection. The major fluoroquinolone-resistant STs of C. jejuni (ST7323, ST2083, and ST2343) and C. coli (ST860) present in Australian chickens were similar to those of international isolates and have been reported previously in humans and animals overseas. The detection of a subpopulation of Campylobacter isolates exclusively resistant to fluoroquinolone was unexpected since most critically important antimicrobials such as fluoroquinolones are excluded from use in Australian livestock. A number of factors, including the low level of resistance to other antimicrobials, the absence of fluoroquinolone use, the adoption of measures for preventing spread of contagion between flocks, and particularly the genomic identities of isolates, all point to humans, pest species, or wild birds as being the most plausible source of organisms. This study also demonstrates the need for vigilance in the form of surveillance for AMR based on robust sampling to manage AMR risks in the food chain.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Antimicrobial Resistance and Infectious Disease Laboratory
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Copyright: © 2020 Abraham et al.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
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