Aims: To estimate the proportions of farms on which broilers, turkeys and pigs were shedding fluoroquinolone (FQ)-resistant Escherichia coli or Campylobacter spp. near to slaughter.
Methods and Results: Freshly voided faeces were collected on 89 poultry and 108 pig farms and cultured with media containing 1·0 mg l−1 ciprofloxacin. Studies demonstrated the specificity of this sensitive method, and both poultry and pig sampling yielded FQ-resistant E. coli on 60% of farms. FQ-resistant Campylobacter spp. were found on around 22% of poultry and 75% of pig farms. The majority of resistant isolates of Campylobacter (89%) and E. coli (96%) tested had minimum inhibitory concentrations for ciprofloxacin of ≥8 mg l−1. The proportion of resistant E. coli and Campylobacter organisms within samples varied widely.
Conclusions: FQ resistance is commonly present among two enteric bacterial genera prevalent on pig and poultry farms, although the low proportion of resistant organisms in many cases requires a sensitive detection technique.
Significance and Impact of the Study: FQ-resistant bacteria with zoonotic potential appear to be present on a high proportion of UK pig and poultry farms. The risk this poses to consumers relative to other causes of FQ-resistant human infections remains to be clarified.