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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Exploring the Antibiotic Resistance Burden in Livestock, Livestock Handlers and Their Non-Livestock Handling Contacts: A One Health Perspective

Hickman, Rachel A.; Leangapichart, Thongpan; Lunha, Kamonwan; Jiwakanon, Jatesada; Angkititrakul, Sunpetch; Magnusson, Ulf; Sunde, Marianne; Jarhult, Josef D.


Antibiotics are freqeuently used in the livestock sector in low- and middle-income countries for treatment, prophylaxis, and growth promotion. However, there is limited information into the zoonotic prevalence and dissemination patterns of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) within these environments. In this study we used pig farming in Thailand as a model to explore AMR; 156 pig farms were included, comprising of small-sized (<50 sows) and medium-sized (>= 100 sows) farms, where bacterial isolates were selectively cultured from animal rectal and human fecal samples. Bacterial isolates were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST), and whole-genome sequencing. Our results indicate extensive zoonotic sharing of antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) by horizontal gene transfer. Resistance to multiple antibiotics was observed with higher prevalence in medium-scale farms. Zoonotic transmission of colistin resistance in small-scale farms had a dissemination gradient from pigs to handlers to non-livestock contacts. We highly recommend reducing the antimicrobial use in animals' feeds and medications, especially the last resort drug colistin.


one-health approach; antibiotic resistance; zoonotic transmission; E; coli; livestock; pigs; meat-production

Published in

Frontiers in Microbiology
2021, Volume: 12, article number: 651461

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      • Associated SLU-program

        AMR: Bacteria

        Sustainable Development Goals

        SDG3 Good health and well-being
        SDG17 Partnerships for the goals

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