Use of Colistin and Other Critical Antimicrobials on Pig and Chicken Farms in Southern Vietnam and Its Association with Resistance in Commensal Escherichia coli Bacteria
Nguyen NT., Nguyen HM., Nguyen CV., Nguyen TV., Nguyen MT., Thai HQ., Ho MH., Thwaites G., Ngo HT., Baker S., Carrique-Mas J.
ABSTRACT Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global health problem, and emerging semi-intensive farming systems in Southeast Asia are major contributors to the AMR burden. We accessed 12 pig and chicken farms at key stages of production in Tien Giang Province, Vietnam, to measure antimicrobial usage and to investigate the prevalence of AMR to five critical antimicrobials (β-lactams, third-generation cephalosporins, quinolones, aminoglycosides, and polymyxins) and their corresponding molecular mechanisms among 180 Escherichia coli isolates. Overall, 94.7 mg (interquartile range [IQR], 65.3 to 151.1) and 563.6 mg (IQR, 398.9 to 943.6) of antimicrobials was used to produce 1 kg (live weight) of chicken and pig, respectively. A median of 3 (out of 8) critical antimicrobials were used on pig farms. E. coli isolates exhibited a high prevalence of resistance to ampicillin (97.8% and 94.4% for chickens and pigs, respectively), ciprofloxacin (73.3% and 21.1%), gentamicin (42.2% and 35.6%), and colistin (22.2% and 24.4%). The prevalence of a recently discovered colistin resistance gene, mcr-1 , was 19 to 22% and had strong agreement with phenotypic colistin resistance. We conducted plasmid conjugation experiments with 37 mcr-1 gene-positive E. coli isolates and successfully observed transfer of the gene in 54.0% of isolates through a plasmid of approximately 63 kb, consistent with one recently identified in China. We found no significant correlation between total use of antimicrobials at the farm level and AMR. These data provide additional insight into the role of mcr-1 in colistin resistance on farms and outline the dynamics of phenotypic and genotypic AMR in semi-intensive farming systems in Vietnam. IMPORTANCE Our study provides accurate baseline information on levels of antimicrobial use, as well as on the dynamics of phenotypic and genotypic resistance for antimicrobials of critical importance among E. coli over the different stages of production in emerging pig and poultry production systems in Vietnam. E. coli isolates showed a high prevalence of resistance (>20%) to critically important antimicrobials, such as colistin, ciprofloxacin, and gentamicin. The underlying genetic mechanisms identified for colistin (the mcr-1 gene) and quinolone ( gyrA gene mutations) are likely to play a major role in AMR to those compounds. Conjugation experiments led to the identification of a 63-kb plasmid, similar to one recently identified in China, as the potential carrier of the mcr-1 gene. These results should encourage greater restrictions of such antimicrobials in Southeast Asian farming systems.