In Egypt, poultry production constitutes one of the main sources of pollution with veterinary antibiotics (VAs) into the environment. About 80 % of meat production in Egypt is of poultry origin, and the potential environmental risks associated with the use of VAs in these farms have not yet been properly evaluated. Thus, the main purpose of this research was to evaluate the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant enteric key bacteria and the incidence of residual antibiotics in poultry farm environmental samples and to determine whether fertilizing soils with poultry litter from farms potentially brings ecological risks. From December 2011 to September 2012, a total of 225 litter, bird dropping, and water samples were collected from 75 randomly selected boiler poultry farms. A high prevalence of Escherichia coli (n = 179; 79.5 %) in contrast to the low prevalence of Salmonella spp. (n = 7; 3.1 %) was detected. Amongst E. coli isolates, serotypes O142:K86, O125:K70, O91:K, and O119:K69 were the most common. Meanwhile, Salmonella enterica serotypes emek and enteritidis were recovered. The antibiograms using the disc diffusion method revealed significantly more common resistant and multi-resistant isolates in broiler poultry farms. Residues of tetracycline and ciprofloxacin were detected at 2.125 and 1.401 mg kg(-1) mean levels, respectively, in environmental samples contaminated with E. coli-resistant strains by HPLC. The risk evaluations highlighted that tetracycline residues in poultry litter significantly display environmental risks with a hazard quotient value above 1 (1.64). Our study implies that ineffective implementation of veterinary laws which guide and guard against incorrect VA usage may potentially bring health and environmental risks.
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