Imported chicken meat as a potential source of quinolone-resistant Escherichia coli producing extended-spectrum β-lactamases in the UK

Roderic E. Warren*, V. M. Ensor, P. O'Neill, V. Butler, J. Taylor, K. Nye, M. Harvey, D. M. Livermore, N. Woodford, P. M. Hawkey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    113 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: Escherichia coli producing CTX-M-15 enzyme began to rapidly spread in the UK from around 2003 but other types also occur, notably CTX-M-14. We examined breasts from UK-reared (n = 62) and imported (n = 27) chickens as potential sources of quinolone-resistant E. coli with blaCTX-M genes. A further 40 samples for which the country of rearing could not be identified were examined. Methods: During 2006,129 fresh and frozen chicken breast fillets were purchased from retail outlets in the West Midlands. These were cultured for E. coli on CLED agar containing 8 mg/L ciprofloxacin and carrying a 10 μg cefpodoxime disc. Resistant isolates were identified and typed by RAPD fingerprinting; bla CTX-M was identified by PCR and genotyped by reverse-line hybridization. Results: The country of rearing was identified from the packaging for 89 of 129 purchased samples. Only one of the 62 UK-reared chicken samples carried E. coli producing a CTX-M-1 enzyme, whereas 10 of 27 samples reared overseas had E. coli with CTX-M enzymes. Specifically, 4/10 Brazilian, 3/4 Brazilian/Polish/French, and 2/2 Dutch samples had E. coli with CTX-M-2 enzymes. Six of 40 samples for which the country of rearing was not known had producers of CTX-M enzymes, 5 of them with CTX-M-14. Conclusions: Quinolone-resistant E. coli with various CTX-M β-lactamase genes that are common in human infections worldwide were found in imported chicken breasts, indicating a possible source for gut colonization. Samples from Brazil were commonly positive for E. coli with CTX-M-2, the dominant bla CTX-M genotype from human infections in South America, which is currently rare in clinical infections in the UK. CTX-M-15, the dominant CTX-M type in human infections in the UK, was not found in chicken isolates, suggesting that the UK-reared chickens are not a reservoir of CTX-M-15.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)504-508
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    V. M. E. was supported in part for undertaking the molecular work by a grant from the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy awarded to P. M. H. Analytical work on food samples was supported by internal funding from the Health Protection Agency for the normal food, water and environmental activity of its laboratories and Collaborating Laboratories.


    • ESBLs
    • Enterobacteriaceae
    • Food
    • Quinolones


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