Comparison of phenotypical antimicrobial resistance between clinical and non-clinical e. coli isolates from broilers, turkeys and calves in four european countries
Livestock data on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) are commonly collected from bacterial populations of clinical and non-clinical isolates. In contrast to data on non-clinical isolates from livestock, data on clinical isolates are not harmonized in Europe. The Normalized Resistance Interpretation (NRI) method was applied to overcome the lack of harmonization of laboratory methods and interpretation rules between monitoring systems. Statistical analyses were performed to identify associations between the isolate type (clinical vs. non-clinical) and resistance to four antimicrobials (ampicillin, tetracycline, gentamicin, and nalidixic acid) per animal category in Germany and France. Additional statistical analyses comparing clinical and non-clinical isolates were performed with the available data on the same antimicrobial panel and animal categories from the UK and Norway. Higher resistance prevalence was found in clinical isolates compared to non-clinical isolates from calves to all antimicrobials included in Germany and France. It was also found for gentamicin in broilers from France. In contrast, in broilers and turkeys from Germany and France and in broilers from the UK, a higher resistance level to ampicillin and tetracycline in non-clinical isolates was encountered. This was also found in resistance to gentamicin in isolates from turkeys in Germany. Resistance differed within countries and across years, which was partially in line with differences in antimicrobial use patterns. Differences in AMR between clinical and non-clinical isolates of Escherichia coli are associated with animal category (broiler, calf, and turkey) and specific antimicrobials. The NRI method allowed comparing results of non-harmonized AMR systems and might be useful until international harmonization is achieved.