Effect of challenge dose of plasmid-mediated extended-spectrum β-lactamase and AmpC β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli on time-until-colonization and level of excretion in young broilers

Dame-Korevaar, Anita; Fischer, Egil A.J.; Goot, Jeanet van der; Velkers, Francisca; Broek, Jan van den; Veldman, Kees; Ceccarelli, Daniela; Mevius, Dik; Stegeman, Arjan


Plasmid-mediated extended-spectrum β-lactamase and AmpC β-lactamase (ESBL/pAmpC) producing bacteria are present at all levels of the broiler production pyramid. Young birds can be found positive for ESBL/pAmpC-producing Escherichia coli shortly after arrival at farm. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of different challenge doses of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli on time-until-colonization and the level of excretion in young broilers. One-day-old broilers (specific-pathogen free (SPF) and conventional Ross 308) were housed in isolators and challenged with 0.5 ml ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli strains of varying doses (101–105 CFU/ml). Presence and concentration (CFU/gram feces) of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli and total E. coli were determined longitudinally from cloacal swabs, and in cecal content 72 h after challenge. Higher challenge doses resulted in shorter time-until-colonization. However, even the lowest dose (101 CFU/ml) resulted in colonization of the broilers which excreted >106 CFU/gram feces 72 h after inoculation. Conventional broilers were colonized later than SPF broilers, although within 72 h after challenge all broilers were excreting ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli. A probabilistic model was used to estimate the probability of colonization by initial inoculation or transmission. The higher the dose the higher the probability of excreting ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli as a result of inoculation. In conclusion, low initial doses of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli can result in rapid colonization of a flock. Interventions should thus be aimed to eliminate ESBL/pAmpC-producing bacteria in the environment of the hatchlings and measures focusing at reducing colonization and transmission of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli should be applied shortly after hatching.