Faecal samples from cattle in US feedlots were evaluated for the presence of Salmonella. When Salmonella isolates were recovered the antimicrobial resistance patterns were determined.
METHODS AND RESULTS
Faecal samples were collected from pen floors in 73 feedlots in 12 states during the period from October 1999 to September 2000. Pens of cattle selected for sampling were those that had been in the feedlot for the shortest period of time, the longest period of time and a randomly selected pen from the remaining pens. Faecal samples were cultured for Salmonella spp. and all Salmonella isolates were categorized by serotype. The susceptibilities of all isolates were determined using a panel of 17 antimicrobials. Overall, 6.3% (654/10,417) of the samples cultured positive for Salmonella spp. and 22.2% (94/422) of pens and 50.7% (37/73) of feedlots had one or more positive samples. There was little difference in the proportion of positive samples from short-fed (6.1%, 212/3482), random (6.4%, 217/3400) and long-fed (6.4%, 224/3485) pens of cattle. One of two pens of cattle that could not be attributed to a pen type had a single positive sample (2.0%, 1/50). Samples collected during the period of April to June (6.8%, 209/3054) and July to September (11.4%, 286/2500) were more likely to be positive than those collected during October to December (4.0%, 73/1838) and January to March (2.8%, 86/3025). The most common serotypes of Salmonella were dissimilar from those that are typically seen in human illness and cattle illness. The majority of isolates (62.8%, 441/702) were sensitive to all of the antimicrobials tested. Resistance was most frequently observed to tetracycline (35.9%, 252/702) followed by streptomycin (11.1%, 78/702), ampicillin (10.4%, 73/702) and chloramphenicol (10.4%, 73/702). Multiple resistance (resistance to > or =2 antimicrobials) was observed for 11.7% (82/702) of the isolates.
Salmonella was isolated at low frequency from faeces of feedlot cattle and the serotypes were not those commonly associated with human illness. In addition most of the Salmonella isolates were sensitive to all the antimicrobials tested.
SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY
This study contributes to understanding the ecology of Salmonella in cattle feedlots and the prevalence of resistance among potential food-borne pathogens.
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