Antimicrobial resistance associated with colistin has emerged as a significant concern worldwide threatening the use of one of the most important antimicrobials for treating human disease. Here, we examined a collection (n = 980) of Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) isolated from poultry with colibacillosis from the US and internationally for the presence of mcr-1 and mcr-2, genes known to encode colistin resistance. Included in the analysis was an additional set of avian fecal E. coli (AFEC) (n = 220) isolates from healthy birds for comparative analysis. The mcr-1 gene was detected in a total of 12 isolates recovered from diseased production birds from China and Egypt. No mcr genes were detected in the healthy fecal isolates. The full mcr-1 gene from positive isolates was sequenced using specifically designed primers and were compared with sequences currently described in NCBI. mcr-1 positive isolates were also assessed for phenotypic colistin resistance and extended spectrum beta lactam phenotypes and genotypes. This study has identified mcr-1 in APEC isolates dating back to at least 2010 and suggests that animal husbandry practices could result in a potential source of resistance to the human food chain in countries where application of colistin in animal health is practiced.
Barbieri, N. L., Nielsen, D. W., Wannemuehler, Y., Cavender, T., Hussein, A., Yan, S. G., … Logue, C. M. (2017). Mcr-1 identified in avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC). PLoS ONE, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0172997