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Associations between Antimicrobial Exposure and Resistance in Fecal Campylobacter spp. from Grow-Finish Pigs On-Farm in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada

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Campylobacter spp. (n = 405), isolated from the feces of apparently healthy grow-finish pigs in 20 herds, were tested for susceptibility to 10 antimicrobials representing seven classes. Twelve percent of the isolates were susceptible to all drugs, while 64% were resistant to two or more antimicrobial classes. Resistance was most common to clindamycin, azithromycin, and erythromycin (71% each), and 10% of the isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin. An antimicrobial use risk-factor analysis and a variance analysis explored the connection between antimicrobial resistance and the herd. The antimicrobial exposure of each production phase of each herd, through feed and water, was evaluated as a potential risk factor for resistance to macrolides and quinolones. Every 100,000 pig days of macrolide exposure in nursery pigs increased the odds of resistance to macrolides by a factor of 1.3. In contrast, the odds of resistance to a quinolone were nine times higher in Campylobacter from herds without beta-lactam exposure in grow-finish pigs compared with those with exposure. The variance analysis identified remarkably high clustering between isolates within herds; the intraclass correlations for resistances ranged from 0.52 to 0.82. Such extreme clustering demonstrates the potential for herd-level interventions to influence antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter. The three key findings of this study, i.e., the prevalent resistance to macrolides, the association between macrolide exposure and Campylobacter resistance to macrolides, and the high clustering of resistance within herds, illustrate the need for continued study of antimicrobial-resistant Campylobacter on pig farms and the importance of judicious antimicrobial use in pork production.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5B4;, Email: 2: Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Large Animal Clinical Sciences, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 5B4 3: Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, 160 Research Lane, Unit 103, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 5B2, Ontario Veterinary College, Population Medicine, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 4: Laboratory for Foodborne Zoonoses, Public Health Agency of Canada, 110 Stone Road, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 3W4

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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