Fecal carriage of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in swine and cattle at slaughter in Switzerland

J Food Prot. 2011 Mar;74(3):446-9. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-10-372.


During the past decade, extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae have become a matter of great concern in human medicine. ESBL-producing strains are found in the community, not just in hospital-associated patients, which raises a question about possible reservoirs. Recent studies describe the occurrence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in meat, fish, and raw milk; therefore, the impact of food animals as reservoirs for and disseminators of such strains into the food production chain must be assessed. In this pilot study, fecal samples of 59 pigs and 64 cattle were investigated to determine the occurrence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in farm animals at slaughter in Switzerland. Presumptive-positive colonies on Brilliance ESBL agar were subjected to identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing including the disc diffusion method and E-test ESBL strips. As many as 15.2% of the porcine and 17.1% of the bovine samples, predominantly from calves, yielded ESBL producers. Of the 21 isolated strains, 20 were Escherichia coli, and one was Citrobacter youngae. PCR analysis revealed that 18 strains including C. youngae produced CTX-M group 1 ESBLs, and three strains carried genes encoding for CTX-M group 9 enzymes. In addition, eight isolates were PCR positive for TEM β-lactamase, but no bla(SHV) genes were detected. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed a high genetic diversity within the strains. The relatively high rates of occurrence of ESBLproducing strains in food animals and the high genetic diversity among these strains indicate that there is an established reservoir of these organisms in farm animals. Further studies are necessary to assess future trends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abattoirs*
  • Animals
  • Cattle / microbiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control
  • Disease Reservoirs / veterinary
  • Enterobacteriaceae / enzymology
  • Enterobacteriaceae / genetics
  • Enterobacteriaceae / isolation & purification*
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Swine / microbiology*
  • Switzerland
  • beta-Lactamases / metabolism*


  • beta-Lactamases