Temporal prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter spp. from beef cattle in Alberta feedlots

Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jun;72(6):4088-95. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02830-05.


Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was temporally assessed in campylobacters isolated from beef cattle (7,738 fecal samples from 2,622 animals) in four commercial feedlots in Alberta. All calves were administered chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline in feed, and a majority of the animals (93%) were injected with long-acting oxytetracycline upon arrival at the feedlot. Fecal samples from individual animals were collected upon arrival (i.e., entry sample), 69 days (standard deviation [SD] = 3 days) after arrival (i.e., interim sample), and 189 days (SD = 33 days) after arrival (i.e., exit sample) at the feedlot. In total, 1,586 Campylobacter isolates consisting of Campylobacter coli (n = 154), Campylobacter fetus (n = 994), Campylobacter jejuni (n = 431), Campylobacter hyointestinalis (n = 4), and Campylobacter lanienae (n = 3) were recovered and characterized. The administration of antimicrobials did not decrease carriage rates of campylobacters, and minimal resistance (< or =4%) to azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, enrofloxacin, gentamicin, and meropenem was observed. In contrast, substantive increases in the prevalence of isolates resistant to tetracycline and doxycycline (56 to 89%) for C. coli, C. fetus, and C. jejuni, as well as in the number of animals (7 to 42%) from which resistant isolates were recovered, were observed during the feedlot period. Increased resistance to erythromycin (total isolates and carriages rates) was also observed in isolates of C. coli over the three isolation times. The majority of C. fetus isolates recovered were resistant to nalidixic acid, but this was independent of when they were isolated. A relatively limited number of multidrug-resistant isolates were recovered and consisted primarily of C. coli resistant to tetracyclines and erythromycin (10% of isolates). Over the course of the feedlot period, considerable increases in antimicrobial resistance were observed in C. coli, C. fetus, and C. jejuni, but with the exception of erythromycin resistance in C. coli, the administration of antimicrobial agents to beef cattle was found to have a minimal impact on resistance to macrolides and fluoroquinolones, the two classes of antimicrobials used to treat campylobacteriosis in humans. However, the widespread use of antimicrobial agents in beef production and the possible horizontal transfer of mobile genetic elements with antimicrobial resistance determinants among Campylobacter and other bacterial taxa emphasize the need to monitor AMR development in bacteria from beef cattle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alberta
  • Animal Feed / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Campylobacter / drug effects*
  • Campylobacter / isolation & purification
  • Campylobacter coli / drug effects
  • Campylobacter coli / isolation & purification
  • Campylobacter fetus / drug effects
  • Campylobacter fetus / isolation & purification
  • Campylobacter jejuni / drug effects
  • Campylobacter jejuni / isolation & purification
  • Cattle
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Meat / microbiology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests