Background and Aim: The problem of antimicrobial resistance of bacteria in both humans and animals is an important public health concern globally, which is likely to increase, including in Thailand, where carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), such as Escherichia coli, are of particular concern. They are pathogens found in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and other animals as well as in the environment. They may cause opportunistic infection and are often resistant to antibiotics in various fields especially in animal husbandry, such as pets or livestock farms. This study aimed to investigate the occurrence of carbapenem-resistant E. coli from water samples of smallholder dairy farms in Saraburi and Maha Sarakham, Thailand.
Materials and Methods: Sixty-four water samples were collected from 32 dairy farms in Kaeng Khoi district, Muak Lek district, and Wang Muang district of Saraburi Province, and Kantharawichai district and Mueang district of Maha Sarakham Province, Thailand. All samples were cultured and isolated for E. coli by biochemical tests. All E. coli isolates were tested for drug susceptibility using imipenem, meropenem, and drug resistance genes of carbapenemases such as blaNDM, blaIMP, and blaOXA48 of drug-resistant E. coli isolates detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique.
Results: A total of 182 E. coli isolates were found (140 and 42 isolates from Saraburi and Maha Sarakham, respectively). Drug sensitivity tests found that two isolates of E. coli from water in Kaeng Khoi were resistant to imipenem; therefore, the incidence of E. coli resistance to carbapenem was 1.43% of Saraburi Province. On the other hand, there was no incidence of drug-resistant E. coli in Maha Sarakham. In addition, the detection of the drug-resistant gene of E. coli in both isolates by PCR showed the expression of blaNDM.
Conclusion: This study reports E. coli resistance to antimicrobial drugs on livestock farms. It can be considered to be the first report of E. coli CRE detection in a dairy farm at Saraburi, which should be the subject of further extended study.