Global dissemination of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food animals is a major public health concern. Whilst many countries have implemented prudent antibiotic use policies and surveillance systems both in clinical and veterinary settings, there are no such systems in place in Albania and little is known about the levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in food animals within the country. A total of 172 poultry samples were taken from six Albanian farms over a 3-month period and were tested for the presence of Enterobacteriaceae. In total, 91 bacterial isolates were obtained and were characterised by species (Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp. or other Enterobacteriaceae) and by susceptibility to 11 antibiotics. Resistance rates of E. coli and Salmonella isolates were, respectively: amoxicillin (86%, 64%); chloramphenicol (77%, 82%); ciprofloxacin (93%, 73%); cefotaxime (14%, 0%); gentamicin (12%, 0%); kanamycin (30%, 18%); nalidixic acid (91%, 73%); streptomycin (70%, 55%); sulphonamides (91%, 73%); tetracycline (95%, 73%); and trimethoprim (79%, 64%). Multidrug resistance to at least four antibiotics was observed in 95% of E. coli isolates and 82% of Salmonella. In conclusion, these data indicate that: (i) Salmonella and E. coli isolates from Albanian poultry farms exhibit high to extremely high levels of antibiotic resistance; (ii) Salmonella and E. coli isolates exhibit resistance to multiple antibiotics; and (iii) multidrug resistance profiles among Enterobacteriaceae are geographically widespread. Implementation of prudent antibiotic use policies in food animals and related surveillance will be necessary to reduce the emergence, spread and establishment of highly resistant strains across poultry farms in Albania.
Keywords: Albania; Antibiotic resistance; Escherichia coli; Poultry; Salmonella.
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