The herd prevalence of third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (3GC-R-Ec) was determined for broilers (25.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) 17.6-33.7%]), pigs (3.3% [(95% CI 0.4-11.5%]), and cattle (3.9% [95% CI 0.5-13.5%]), using a sampling strategy that was representative of the livestock population slaughtered in Switzerland between October 2010 and April 2011. The 3GC-R-Ec isolates were characterized by the measurement of the MICs of various antibiotics, microarray analyses, analytical isoelectric focusing, polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing for bla genes, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and multilocus sequence typing. CMY-2 (n = 12), CTX-M-1 (n = 11), SHV-12 (n = 5), TEM-52 (n = 3), CTX-M-15 (n = 2), and CTX-M-3 (n = 1) producers were found. The majority of CMY-2 producers fell into 1 PFGE cluster, which predominantly contained ST61, whereas the CTX-M types were carried by heterogeneous clones of E. coli, as shown by the numerous PFGE profiles and STs that were found. This is the first national Swiss study that focuses on the spread of 3GC-R Enterobacteriaceae among slaughtered animals.
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