Presence of antimicrobial resistance in coliform bacteria from hatching broiler eggs with emphasis on ESBL/AmpC-producing bacteria

Antimicrobial resistance is recognized as one of the most important global health challenges. Broilers are an important reservoir of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in general and, more particularly, extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL)/AmpC-producing Enterobacteriaceae. Since contamination of 1-day-old chicks is a potential risk factor for the introduction of antimicrobial resistant Enterobacteriaceae in the broiler production chain, the presence of antimicrobial resistant coliform bacteria in broiler hatching eggs was explored in the present study. Samples from 186 hatching eggs, collected from 11 broiler breeder farms, were inoculated on MacConkey agar with or without ceftiofur and investigated for the presence of antimicrobial resistant lactose-positive Enterobacteriaceae, particularly, ESBL/AmpC-producers. Escherichia coli and Enterobacter cloacae were obtained from the eggshells in 10 out of 11 (10/11) sampled farms. The majority of the isolates were recovered from crushed eggshells after external decontamination suggesting that these bacteria are concealed from the disinfectants in the egg shell pores. Antimicrobial resistance testing revealed that approximately 30% of the isolates showed resistance to ampicillin, tetracycline, trimethoprim and sulphonamides, while the majority of isolates were susceptible to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, nitrofurantoin, aminoglycosides, florfenicol, neomycin and apramycin. Resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins was detected in eight Enterobacteriaceae isolates from five different broiler breeder farms. The ESBL phenotype was confirmed by the double disk synergy test and blaSHV–12, blaTEM–52 and blaACT–39 resistance genes were detected by PCR. This report is the first to present broiler hatching eggs as carriers and a potential source of ESBL/AmpC-producing Enterobacteriaceae for broiler chicks.