Antimicrobial resistance in salmonella enterica serovar heidelberg isolates from retail meats, including poultry, from 2002 to 2006

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Salmonella enterica serovar Heidelberg frequently causes food-borne illness in humans. There are few data on the prevalence, antimicrobial susceptibility, and genetic diversity of Salmonella serovar Heidelberg isolates in retail meats. We compared the prevalences of Salmonella serovar Heidelberg in a sampling of 20,295 meats, including chicken breast (n = 5,075), ground turkey (n = 5,044), ground beef (n = 5,100), and pork chops (n = 5,076), collected during 2002 to 2006. Isolates were analyzed for antimicrobial susceptibility and compared genetically using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and PCR for the blaCMY gene. A total of 298 Salmonella serovar Heidelberg isolates were recovered, representing 21.6% of all Salmonella serovars from retail meats. One hundred seventy-eight (59.7%) were from ground turkey, 110 (36.9%) were from chicken breast, and 10 (3.4%) were from pork chops; none was found in ground beef. One hundred ninety-eight isolates (66.4%) were resistant to at least one compound, and 49 (16.4%) were resistant to at least five compounds. Six isolates (2.0%), all from ground turkey, were resistant to at least nine antimicrobials. The highest resistance in poultry isolates was to tetracycline (39.9%), followed by streptomycin (37.8%), sulfamethoxazole (27.7%), gentamicin (25.7%), kanamycin (21.5%), ampicillin (19.8%), amoxicillin-clavulanic acid (10.4%), and ceftiofur (9.0%). All isolates were susceptible to ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin. All ceftiofur-resistant strains carried blaCMY. PFGE using XbaI and BlnI showed that certain clones were widely dispersed in different types of meats and meat brands from different store chains in all five sampling years. These data indicate that Salmonella serovar Heidelberg is a common serovar in retail poultry meats and includes widespread clones of multidrug-resistant strains.

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