Associations between antimicrobial resistance in fecal Escherichia coli isolates and antimicrobial use in Canadian turkey flocks

Rima D. Shrestha, Agnes Agunos, Sheryl P. Gow, Anne E. Deckert, Csaba Varga

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in enteric bacteria continues to be detected in turkey flocks and retail products worldwide, including in Canada. However, studies assessing linkages between on-farm antimicrobial use (AMU) and the development of AMR are lacking. This study aims to identify AMU characteristics that impact the development of AMR in the indicator bacteria Escherichia coli in turkey flocks, building on the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance methodology for farm-level AMU and AMR data integration. Two analytic approaches were used: (1) multivariable mixed-effects logistic regression models examined associations between AMU (any route, route-specific, and route-disease-specific indication) summarized as the number of defined daily doses in animals using Canadian standards ([nDDDvetCA]/1,000 kg-animal-days at risk) and AMR and (2) multivariable mixed-effects Poisson regression models studied the linkages between AMU and the number of classes to which an E. coli isolate was resistant (nCRE. coli). A total of 1,317 E. coli isolates from a network of 16 veterinarians and 334 turkey producers across the five major turkey-producing provinces in Canada between 2016 and 2019 were used. Analysis indicated that AMR emerged with the use of related antimicrobials (e.g., tetracycline use-tetracycline resistance), however, the use of unrelated antimicrobial classes was also impacting AMR (e.g., aminoglycosides/streptogramins use-tetracycline resistance). As for studying AMU-nCRE. coli linkages, the most robust association was between the parenteral aminoglycosides use and nCRE. coli, though in-feed uses of four unrelated classes (bacitracin, folate pathway inhibitors, streptogramins, and tetracyclines) appear to be important, indicating that ongoing uses of these classes may slow down the succession from multidrug-resistant to a more susceptible E. coli populations. The analysis of AMU (route and disease-specific)-AMR linkages complemented the above findings, suggesting that treatment of certain diseases (enteric, late-stage septicemic conditions, and colibacillosis) are influential in the development of resistance to certain antimicrobial classes. The highest variances were at the flock level indicating that stewardship actions should focus on flock-level infection prevention practices. This study added new insights to our understanding of AMU-AMR linkages in turkeys and is useful in informing AMU stewardship in the turkey sector. Enhanced surveillance using sequencing technologies are warranted to explain molecular-level determinants of AMR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number954123
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - Jul 29 2022


  • Canada
  • E. coli
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • antimicrobial use
  • farm surveillance
  • turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


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