Tel.+49 30 8385 1845 Fax.+49 30 83845 1863
The presence of ESBL/AmpC-producing Escherichia coli in livestock such as pigs has been known for some time. However, to date there is little information about the transmission of these resistant bacteria between pig farms and their surroundings. Thus, the aim of this study was to explore this topic by investigating seven German pig fattening farms. Samples from outside (including ground surfaces, ambient air, slurry and digestate from biogas plants) and, in parallel, from inside the pig barns (including pig feces, dust, barn air, flies and mice feces) were examined for ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli and selected isolates were compared by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) analysis. 14/17 (82.4%) slurry samples and three of four samples of digestate from biogas plants tested positive for ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli. In the vicinity of the pig barns these resistant bacteria were detected in 14/87 (16.1%) boot swabs taken from various ground surfaces and in 2/36 (6%) ambient air samples. Inside the pig barns, 6/63 (9.5%) barn air samples and a small proportion of flies and mice feces samples were ESBL/AmpC-positive. PFGE analysis proved fecal emission as well as a possible spread via flies, as identical ESBL-E. coli isolates were detected in slurry and on fertilized fields, as well as in flies and pooled feces from inside the barn and slurry. Contaminated slurry presented the major emission source for ESBL/AmpC-producing E. coli in the pig fattening farms, but a spread via the airborne route or via different vectors also seems possible.