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Prevalence of the colistin-resistance gene in Escherichia coli from livestock in Germany

A. Irrgang, N. Roschanski, B-A. Tenhagen, M. Grobbel, T. Skladnikiewicz-Ziemer, K. Thomas and others

IN November 2015, the first plasmid-encoded colistin resistance gene, mcr-1, was detected in Enterobacteriaceae isolated from livestock and raw meat samples as well as people in China. Since then, multiple reports of mcr-1-positive isolates indicate a worldwide spread of this newly discovered resistance gene. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of mcr-1 in livestock and food isolates in Germany.

Over 10,600 Escherichia coli isolates from the national monitoring scheme of zoonotic agents from the years 2010 to 2015 were screened for phenotypic colistin resistance. Of those, 505 resistant genes were screened using a newly developed TaqMan-based real-time PCR for the presence of the mcr-1 gene.

In total, 402 isolates (79.8 per cent of colistin resistant isolates) harboured the mcr-1 gene, thereby giving an overall prevalence of 3.8 per cent among the 10,609 E coli isolates. The highest prevalence was detected in the turkey food chain (10.7 per cent), followed by broiler chickens (5.6 per cent). The prevalence of colistin resistance, and E coli containing the mcr-1 gene, among isolates from other livestock species was much lower …

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