Dynamics of cefotaxime resistant Escherichia coli in broilers in the first week of life

Cindy M. Dierikx*, Jeanet van der Goot, Alieda van Essen-Zandbergen, Dik J. Mevius

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing E. coli (ESBL-E) are wide spread among broilers, with the highest prevalence among individual birds at broiler production farms. Previous research describes low prevalences among individual birds at arrival at the farm (below 30%), and a rapid increase up to 100% within the first week. Our goal was to investigate whether this rapid increase was due to latent contamination of ESBL-E or to contamination at the broiler farm. Two broiler groups, one hatched at a conventional hatchery and the other individually hatched in an ESBL-free environment, were housed individually in an experimental ESBL-free environment. A third group was hatched at a conventional hatchery and kept at a conventional broiler farm. The birds were sampled daily during the first week after hatch and tested for the presence of ESBL-E. In addition ESBL-E presence in eggs that were not incubated was investigated. All birds and eggs came from one ESBL-E positive parent flock. ESBL/AmpC genes, plasmids and E. coli sequence types were determined for a selection of isolates. ESBL-E was never found in the two groups kept in the ESBL-free experimental environment or in the sampled eggs, whereas all broilers sampled at the conventional farm became positive for ESBL-E within three days. One dominant E. coli strain (ST88) carrying blaCTX-M-1 gene on an IncI1/pST3 plasmid was found in parent and broiler samples. We conclude that the rapid increase in ESBL-E prevalence in the first week of life is not caused by a latent contamination of the majority of birds at arrival, but that this increase must be caused by other factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-68
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • AmpC
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Broilers
  • Cefotaxime
  • E. coli
  • ESBL


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