Dr A van den Bogaard and colleagues at University Hospital Maastricht, The Netherlands, analyzed fecal samples in three poultry populations: meat-producing chickens (broilers), egg-laying chickens, and turkeys.
The researchers found that the proportion of samples containing antibiotic-resistant E. coli was higher in the broilers and turkeys than in the egg-layers. The broilers and turkeys had been frequently treated with antibiotics, whereas the egg-layers had received antibiotics relatively infrequently.
Analysis of fecal E. coli from the poultry farmers revealed that antibiotic resistance was greater in broiler and turkey farmers, compared to laying-hen farmers.
|Multiresistant E. coli strains common in turkey and broiler farmers.|
|Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy|
E. coli from the feces of turkey and broiler slaughterers also showed increased antibiotic resistance.
Multiresistant isolates of E. coli, genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, were common in turkey and broiler farmers, but absent in laying-hen farmers.
Farmers and birds with genetically identical E. coli isolates were reported on three farms.
Dr van den Bogaard concludes, "The results of this study strongly indicate the transmission of resistant clones of E. coli.
"The study emphasizes the need for further investigation into the use of antibiotics in poultry farming."