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Study Finds High Rates of ESBL E coli on Chinese Pig Farms

08 September 2016

CHINA - More than half of farm pigs and one in five workers on those farms harbor extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Escherichia coli, according to a small study in the Journal of Food Protection.

Researchers obtained rectal swabs from 60 pigs on four pig-fattening farms in Shandong province in eastern China and from 40 workers on the farms.

The same number of animal and human samples was taken on each farm. They then characterised ESBL-carrying E coli isolates by genotype, antibiotic susceptibility, and other factors.

The investigators found that 34 of 60 pigs (56.7 per cent) and 8 of 40 farm workers (20 per cent) tested positive for ESBL-producing E coli. And the swine isolates had the same genotypes, antibiotic resistance profiles, and other factors as the human isolates.

They concluded: "These findings were suggestive for transfer of ESBL-producing E. coli between animals and humans."

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