Detection and characterization of ESBLproducing Enterobacteriaceae from the gut of healthy chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus in rural Nepal: Dominance of CTX-M-15-non-ST131 Escherichia coli clones

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The surge in the prevalence of drug-resistant bacteria in poultry is a global concern as it may pose an extended threat to humans and animal health. The present study aimed to investigate the colonization proportion of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenemase- producing Enterobacteriaceae (EPE and CPE, respectively) in the gut of healthy poultry, Gallus gallus domesticus in Kaski district of Western Nepal. Total, 113 pooled rectal swab specimens from 66 private household farms and 47 commercial poultry farms were collected by systematic random sampling from the Kaski district in western Nepal. Out of 113 pooled samples, 19 (28.8%) samples from 66 backyard farms, and 15 (31.9%) from 47 commercial broiler farms were positive for EPE. Of the 38 EPE strains isolated from 34 ESBL positive rectal swabs, 31(81.6%) were identified as Escherichia coli, five as Klebsiella pneumoniae (13.2%), and one each isolate of Enterobacter species and Citrobacter species (2.6%). Based on genotyping, 35/38 examined EPE strains (92.1%) were phylogroup-1 positive, and all these 35 strains (100%) had the CTX-M-15 gene and strains from phylogroup-2, and 9 were of CTX-M-2 and CTX-M-14, respectively. Among 38 ESBL positive isolates, 9 (23.7%) were Ambler class C (Amp C) co-producers, predominant were of DHA, followed by CIT genes. Two (6.5%) E. coli strains of ST131 belonged to clade C, rest 29/31 (93.5%) were non-ST131 E. coli. None of the isolates produced carbapenemase. Twenty isolates (52.6%) were in-vitro biofilm producers. Univariate analysis showed that the odd of ESBL carriage among commercial broilers were 1.160 times (95% CI 0.515, 2.613) higher than organically fed backyard flocks. This is the first study in Nepal, demonstrating the EPE colonization proportion, genotypes, and prevalence of high-risk clone E. coli ST131 among gut flora of healthy poultry. Our data indicated that CTX-M-15 was the most prevalent ESBL enzyme, mainly associated with E. coli belonging to non-ST131clones and the absence of carbapenemases.



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