Document Type : Original Article
Department of Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
The objective was to investigate the multidrug resistance and presence of class 1 and 2 integrons in 300 Escherichia coli isolates obtained from 20 broiler farms during three rearing periods (one-day-old chicks, thirty-day-old chickens, and one day before slaughter) in Fars, South Iran. Results showed that 81.00%, 82.00%, and 85.00% of isolates were multidrug-resistant on the first day, thirty-day-old chickens, and one day before slaughter, respectively. Multidrug-resistant E. coli isolates were further examined for the presence of class 1 and 2 integrons using PCR assay. The existence of class 1 integron-integrase gene (intI1) was confirmed in 68.40%, 72.70%, and 60.90% of multidrug-resistant isolates from stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 of the rearing period, respectively. The frequency of class 2 integron-integrase gene (intI2) during the first to the third stage of sampling was 2.60%, 25.50%, and 30.40%. Also, sequence analysis of the cassette arrays within class 1 integron revealed the presence of the genes associated with resistance for trimethoprim (dfrA), streptomycin (aadA), erythromycin (ereA), and orfF genes. The results revealed that percentages of antimicrobial resistance in E. coli isolates were significantly higher in the middle and end stages of the rearing period. In conclusion, widespread dissemination of class 1 integrons in all three stages and rising trends of class 2 integrons existence in E. coli isolates during the rearing period of broiler chickens could exacerbate the spread of resistance factors among bacteria in the poultry industry. Future research is needed to clarify its implication for human health.