Infectious Diseases 2019

Infectious Diseases 2019

Antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter spp. from retail chilled chicken in the UK

7 March, 2019

Campylobacter isolates with antimicrobial resistance have been found on whole fresh chickens sold at retail in the United Kingdom, according to a survey by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The report forms part of the project: A Microbiological Survey of Campylobacter Contamination in Fresh Whole UK Produced Chilled Chickens at Retail Sale (2015-2018) and presents antimicrobial resistance (AMR) data for a subset of those Campylobacter isolates collected as part of this survey.
The overall survey tested 4,268 samples of whole, UK-produced, fresh chicken during the period August 2016 to July 2017.  The samples for the main survey were evenly distributed throughout the year and the UK, and retailers were sampled with their share of free-range, organic and standard chickens taken into account.
A subset (585) of the Campylobacter isolates was tested for AMR. 
A total of 489 C. jejuni and 96 C. coli isolates from 585 samples of retail chicken were tested for antimicrobial resistance.  Ciprofloxacin resistance was identified in 41% (201/489) of the C. jejuni isolates and 52% (50/96) of the C. coli isolates tested.  Only two (0.4%) C. jejuni isolates and none of the C. coli isolates were resistant to erythromycin.  Of all the Campylobacter isolates tested, 55% were resistant to tetracycline and 3% to streptomycin, but all were sensitive to gentamicin.  Multi-drug resistance (resistance to 3 or more unrelated antimicrobial classes) was found in 9 (9.4%) C. coli isolates and 8 (1.6%) C. jejuni isolates.
Differences in levels of ciprofloxacin and tetracycline resistance for isolates from standard and free-range birds were examined.  There were no differences in ciprofloxacin and tetracycline resistance for isolates from standard and free-range birds within Campylobacter jejuni isolates but a higher proportion of Campylobacter coli isolates from free-range chickens were resistant, compared to isolates from standard chickens. No significant differences were found in levels of ciprofloxacin and tetracycline resistance in isolates from standard and organic birds, however the small sample size for organic chickens, may have limited ability to detect differences should they exist.
Overall, the proportions of AMR Campylobacter isolates found in this study were similar to that reported in the previous survey year (July 2015 to July 2016), although the percentage of C. coli isolates with resistance to erythromycin may be decreasing.  Multi-drug resistance was similar to that found in the previous survey years.  The percentages of fluoroquinolone resistant isolates were similar to that found in the two previous years.

Related Links
Link The full report