Drug-Resistant Salmonella Could Come from Chicken

US - Chicken could be a source for multidrug-resistant salmonellosis in humans, according to a group of researchers based in Pennsylvania.
calendar icon 10 May 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

The aim of the experiment was to examine the prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Salmonella in chicken meat and correlate with isolates from ill humans, explain N.M. M'ikanatha from Pennsylvania Department of Health and co-authors. Their paper will shortly be published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease.

They isolated Salmonella from raw chicken purchased from a randomly selected sample of retail outlets in central Pennsylvania during 2006–2007. Salmonella isolates from meat were compared, using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, to isolates in the PulseNet database of Salmonella recovered from humans.


Of 378 chicken meat samples, 84 (22 per cent) contained Salmonella. Twenty-six (31 per cent) of the Salmonella isolates were resistant to threeor more antimicrobials and 18 (21 per cent) were resistant to ceftiofur. All ceftiofur-resistant isolates exhibited reduced susceptibility (minimum inhibitory concentration >2µµg/mL) to ceftriaxone and carried a blaCMY gene, as detected by polymerase chain reaction.

Of the 28 Salmonella serovar Typhimurium isolates, 20 (71.4 per cent) were resistant to three or more antimicrobials and 12 (42.9 per cent) were resistant to ceftiofur. One ceftiofur-resistant Salmonella serovar Typhimurium poultry isolate exhibited a rare pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern indistinguishable from a human isolate in PulseNet; both isolates carried the blaCMY-2 gene.


These data demonstrate the presence of multidrug-resistant Salmonella in poultry meat, including blaCMY plasmid-mediated genes that confer resistance to both ceftiofur, used in poultry, and ceftriaxone, used for treating salmonellosis in humans.

This study illustrates the potential for molecular subtyping databases to identify related Salmonella isolates from meat and ill humans, and suggests that chicken could be a source for multidrug-resistant salmonellosis in humans.


M'ikanatha N.M., C.H. Sandt, A. R. Localio, D. Tewari, S.C. Rankin, J.M. Whichard, S.F. Altekruse, E. Lautenbach, J.P. Folster, A. Russo, T.M. Chiller, S.M. Reynolds, P.F. McDermott. 2010. Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Isolates from Retail Chicken Meat Compared with Human Clinical Isolates. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. (ahead of print). doi:10.1089/fpd.2009.0499.

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