May 17, 2023


Study tracks antimicrobial resistance of E. Coli in swine



A recently published study by the University of Illinois tracked the antimicrobial resistance of Escherichia coli (E.coli) isolated from swine in the US at slaughter, Farm Journal reported.


The research team focused on E. coli due to its prevalence in the intestinal tracts of humans and swine. Moreover, these bacteria are capable of acquiring and transferring resistance genes to other bacteria in the intestinal tract, making them an ideal target for monitoring livestock and human populations.


Hamid Reza Sodagari, a postdoctoral research associate in the Varga lab, said it is important to monitor the emergence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in the swine industry. With the US ranking as the third-largest producer and consumer of swine meat and products, after the European Union and China, it becomes crucial to address this issue.


The study represents the first surveillance endeavour in the US to examine antimicrobial resistance in E. coli from swine at slaughter.


Utilising publicly available surveillance data of cecal samples obtained post-slaughter from market swine and sows in the US between 2013 and 2019, the researchers delved into their analysis.


The data, collected by the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service under the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria programme, provided a comprehensive understanding of the trends.


Csaba Varga, an assistant professor of epidemiology, highlighted the significance of the extensive analysis conducted. Long-term and detailed studies of this nature are often challenging due to resource limitations. This study examined more than 3,000 samples spanning several years, offering valuable insights into the trends.


The findings revealed that the number of antimicrobials to which E. coli demonstrated resistance remained steady or increased since 2013. Of particular concern was the rising resistance to ceftriaxone, an important antimicrobial drug in both human and veterinary medicine, which increased from 0.8% in 2013 to 7.7% in 2019. While the resistance levels are not alarmingly high compared to other antimicrobials, the upward trend is disconcerting.


Sodagari said there is a need for further research at the molecular level to determine the reasons behind this increase. Currently, the underlying causes cannot be explained, necessitating more comprehensive investigations.

The study titled "Evaluating Antimicrobial Resistance Trends in Commensal Escherichia coli Isolated from Cecal Samples of Swine at Slaughter in the United States, 2013-2019" was published in the journal Microorganisms.


-      Farm Journal

Video >

Follow Us