High resistance of fluoroquinolone and macrolide reported in avian pathogenic Escherichia coli isolates from the humid subtropical regions of Pakistan

Amna Jalil, Saleha Masood, Quratul Ain, Saadia Andleeb, Edward G. Dudley, Fazal Adnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: This study aimed to assess the antimicrobial resistance profile, virulence potential, and genetic characterization of avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) that cause colibacillosis in poultry. Methods: Antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) was measured via the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion method against 27 commonly used antibiotics. Phylogrouping, virulence-associated gene detection, and hybrid strain detection via multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and genetic diversity were analysed via ERIC-PCR fingertyping method. Results: AST analysis showed 100% of isolates were multidrug-resistant (MDR) and highest resistance was against penicillin, tetracycline, and macrolide classes of antibiotics. The mcr-1 gene was present in 40% of the isolates, though only 4% of isolates were showing phenotypic resistance. Despite the scarce use of fluoroquinolone, carbapenem, and cephalosporin in the poultry sector, resistance was evident because of the high prevalence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) (53.7%) and other β-lactamases in APEC isolates. β-lactamase genotyping of APEC isolates revealed that 85.7% of isolates contained either blaCTX or blaTEM and around 38% of isolates were complement resistant. Growth in human urine was evident in 67.3% of isolates. Phylogroup B1 (51%) was the most prevalent group followed by phylogroups A (30.6%), D (13.61%), and B2 (4.76%). The most prevalent virulence-associated genes were fimH, iss, and tatT. Results showed that 26 isolates (17.69%) can be termed hybrid strains and APEC/EHEC (enterohemorrhagic E. coli) was the most prevalent hybrid E. coli pathotype. ERIC-PCR fingerprinting genotype analysis clustered APEC isolates in 40 groups (E1-E40). This study provides insights into the antibiotic resistance and virulence profiling of the APEC isolates in Pakistan. Conclusions: The findings of this study provide insights into that the antibiotic resistance and virulence profiling of the APEC isolates in Pakistan. This data can inform future studies designed to better estimate the severity of the colibacillosis in poultry farms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-17
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance
StatePublished - Jun 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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