Prevalence and zoonotic transmission of colistin-resistant and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacterales on German pig farms
The treatment of infections due to colistin-resistant (Col-E) and carbapenemase-producing (CPE) Enterobacterales challenges clinicians both in human and veterinary medicine. Preventing zoonotic transmission of these multidrug-resistant bacteria is a Public Health priority. This study investigates the prevalence of Col-E and CPE on 81 pig farms in North-West Germany as well as among 138 directly exposed humans working on these farms. Between March 2018 and September 2020, 318 samples of porcine feces were taken using boot swabs. Farm workers provided a stool sample. Both a selective culture-based approach and a molecular detection of colistin (mcr-1 to mcr-5) and carbapenem resistance determinants (blaOXA-48/blaVIM/blaKPC/blaNDM) was used to screen all samples. Isolates from farm workers and farms were compared using core genome multilocus-sequence typing (cgMLST) and plasmid-typing. CPE were cultured neither from porcine feces nor from human stool samples. In one stool sample, blaOXA-48 was detected, but no respective CPE isolate was found. Col-E were found in 18/318 porcine (5.7%) samples from 10/81 (12.3%) farms and 2/138 (1.4%) farmers, respectively. All Col-E isolates were Escherichia coli harboring mcr-1. Both farm workers colonized with Col-E worked on farms where no Col-E were detected in porcine samples. In conclusion, CPE were absent on German pig farms. This supports findings of culture-based national monitoring systems and provides evidence that even when improving the diagnostic sensitivity by using molecular detection techniques in addition to culture, CPE are not prevalent. Col-E were prevalent in porcine feces despite a recent decrease in colistin usage among German livestock and absence of colistin treatments on the sampled farms. Farmers carried Col-E, but zoonotic transmission was not confirmed.
Files in this item