Antimicrobial-resistant Klebsiella species isolated from free-range chicken samples in an informal settlement

12 Oct 2013

Sub-therapeutic doses of antimicrobial agents are administered routinely to poultry to aid growth and to prevent disease, with prolonged exposure often resulting in bacterial resistance. Crossover of antibiotic resistant bacteria from poultry to humans poses a risk to human health. In this study, 17 chicken samples collected from a vendor operating in an informal settlement in the Cape Town Metropolitan area, South Africa were screened for antimicrobial-resistant Gram-negative bacilli using the Kirby Bauer disk diffusion assay. In total, six antibiotics were screened: ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, tetracycline and trimethoprim. Surprisingly, Klebsiella ozaenae was identified in 96 and K. rhinoscleromatis in 6 (n = 102) of the samples tested. Interestingly, ~40% of the isolated Klebsiella spp. showed multiple resistance to at least three of the six antibiotics tested. Klebsiella ozaenae and K. rhinoscleromatis cause clinical chronic rhinitis and are almost exclusively associated with people living in areas of poor hygiene.