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Extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase (ESBL) and plasmid-encoded cephamycinase (pAmpC) producing Escherichia (E.) coli in livestock farms have recently been matter of growing scientific and public concern. This article summarises selected European studies which focus on the prevalence and risk factors associated with the presence of such resistant E. coli isolates in livestock farms. Due to the different methodologies used in these studies, they cannot be compared directly; nonetheless, the overall prevalence found is very high. The prevalence found in broiler farms was higher than 40% and the individual animal prevalence was ca. 30%. The prevalence was more variable in pigs, with reports of pig farms showing prevalence of 1 to 80% and reports of individual animal prevalence of 15 to 100% In studies on cattle farms the production type as well as the age of animals had an influence on the number of positive samples. The highest prevalence was found with calves after birth and in the first weeks, whereas with older cattle the numbers of positive samples were considerably lower. Samples taken from dairy cows were positive more often after calving than before calving. According to the livestock species different risk factors may be assessed for the occurrence of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli isolates. In some studies an association between the occurrence of ESBL-producing E. coli and factors like the use of antimicrobial agents or management factors, as the duration of the fattening period and the acquisition of animals from different origins, were identified. At the moment, there is a lack of systematic and standardised transnational epidemiological investigations on the occurrence of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli in livestock. To control the further spread of ESBL/pAmpC-producing E. coli and the effectiveness of preventive measures, comprehensive monitoring and surveillance systems with harmonised methods are essential. Modern typing methods, in particular the sequence-based methods, can provide more information to clarify transmission pathways.