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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Control of E. coli infections in poultry: Determination of critical points of E. coli, including ESBL producing E. coli introduction in poultry flocks and study of preventive measurements to reduce the use of antimicrobials

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.04.03  Biotechnical sciences  Veterinarian medicine  Therapy and health prevention of animals 

Code Science Field
B750  Biomedical sciences  Veterinary medicine: surgery, physiology, pathology, clinical studies 

Code Science Field
4.03  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Veterinary science 
Keywords
Poultry , E. coli, ESBL, APEC, control
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  13654  PhD Jerneja Ambrožič Avguštin  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2014 - 2016  251 
2.  20491  Marko Bogataj    Technical associate  2014 - 2016 
3.  32884  Mira Domjan Grilec  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2016 
4.  11184  PhD Alenka Dovč  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2014 - 2016  472 
5.  23611  PhD Tanja Dreo  Biotechnology  Researcher  2014 - 2016  499 
6.  14429  PhD Roman Glaser  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2014 - 2016  103 
7.  30378  PhD Majda Golob  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2015 - 2016  185 
8.  24640  MSc Rahela Juršič Cizerl  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2014 - 2016  50 
9.  25523  PhD Polona Kogovšek  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2016  215 
10.  23320  PhD Uroš Krapež  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2014 - 2016  180 
11.  21703  Darja Krelj    Technical associate  2014 - 2016 
12.  11879  PhD Jasna Mičunovič  Veterinarian medicine  Technical associate  2014 - 2016  87 
13.  11133  PhD Matjaž Ocepek  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2014 - 2016  468 
14.  05229  PhD Maja Ravnikar  Biotechnology  Researcher  2014 - 2016  1,363 
15.  22446  PhD Brigita Slavec  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2014 - 2016  198 
16.  12682  PhD Irena Zdovc  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2014 - 2016  464 
17.  08023  PhD Olga Zorman Rojs  Veterinarian medicine  Head  2014 - 2016  421 
18.  29649  PhD Jaka Žgajnar  Animal production  Researcher  2014 - 2016  232 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,324 
2.  0406  University of Ljubljana, Veterinary Faculty  Ljubljana  1627139  10,689 
3.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,562 
4.  2106  PERUTNINA PTUJ reja perutnine, proizvodnja krmil, perutninskega mesa in izdelkov, trgovina in storitve d.o.o. (Slovene)  Ptuj  5141966  57 
Abstract
Antimicrobial resistance is a major and increasing global problem in human and veterinary medicine. Increased consumption of antimicrobial agents and their inappropriate use are most important factors which further enhanced this phenomenon. During the past decade, drug resistance in Enterobacteriaceae has increased dramatically worldwide. This has been caused mainly by an increased prevalence of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae. Exstraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli), causes a number of diseases in both animals and humans. In poultry, infections with avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) cause colibacillosis, an acute and mostly systemic disease resulting in significant economic losses. Avian colibacillosis is a complex syndrome characterized by multiple organ lesions with airsacculitis and associated pericarditis, perihepatitis and peritonitis being most typical. Environmental factors as well as the constitution of poultry or initial viral infections influence the outcome of APEC-infections. As APEC share not only identical serotypes with human pathogens but also specific virulence factors, their zoonotic potential is under consideration. The main goal of the proposed study is to determine critical points of introduction of E. coli including ESBL producing E. coli in poultry flocks in order to reduce production loses, antibiotic treatment and to increase animal welfare. We will evaluate the factors associated with the E. coli infection and the clinical outcomes of infection in all categories of poultry; broiler breeders, broilers, commercial layers and turkeys. To estimate the risk of introduction of ESBL producing E. coli by imported chicks our investigations will be focused on one-day-old broiler breeders and turkeys. In addition, the potential influence of coccidiostats on the occurrence of ESBL producing E. coli will be studied. Namely, coccidostats are still widely used for prevention of coccidiosis in poultry flocks. We will evaluate the effect of vaccines against E. coli in commercial layers and in broiler breeders. In breeders their impact on the hatchability and production performance of their progeny (broilers) will be estimated. In the laboratory diagnostic work new methods for determination and differentiation of pathogenicity of E. coli isolates for poultry will be developed and implemented. The proposed project brings together experts and researchers of different teams. This will enable the analyses of true state in practice and fastest transmission of the results into practice. Experiences gained within the proposed project will provide the risk analyses related to E. coli infection in poultry and decrease the use of antibiotics in poultry production. The results of the project will be directly applicable for both partners as well as for poultry industry as whole. This will have a positive effect from the view of competition of international poultry market. Moreover, the goal of the proposed project follows the European Commission Action Plan against the rising threats from antimicrobial resistance. Infection prevention and reduction of antibiotic use are crucial for the effective battle against antimicrobial resistance.
Significance for science
Antimicrobial resistance is a major and increasing global problem in human and veterinary medicine. During the past decade, drug resistance in Enterobacteriaceae has increased dramatically worldwide. This has been caused mainly by an increased prevalence of extended-spectrum ß-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae. Extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli), causes a number of diseases in both animals and humans. In poultry, infections with avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) cause colibacillosis, an acute and mostly systemic disease resulting in significant economic losses. Avian colibacillosis is a complex syndrome characterized by multiple organ lesions. Environmental factors as well as the constitution of poultry or initial viral infections influence the outcome of APEC-infections. As APEC share not only identical serotypes with human pathogens but also specific virulence factors, their zoonotic potential is under consideration. One of the main goal of the project was to determine critical points of introduction of E. coli including ESBL producing E. coli,in poultry flocks in order to reduce production loses, antibiotic treatment and to increase animal welfare. In addition, factors associated with the E. coli infection and the clinical outcomes of infection in all categories of poultry were evaluated. Before this study, no data on prevalence of ESBL or AmpC producing E.coli in poultry farms were available in Slovenia. Results of our study showed that although environmental samples taken before placement of birds in the farms were negative for ESBL and AmpC producing E. coli, ESBL/AmpC producing E. coli were detected in all production types of poultry. ESBL producing E. coli found in the air (17.40%) and faecal (23.18%) samples indicate a risk for people who work on the farms. The results also suggest that intake of antibiotics are a less important factor than vertical transmission or horizontal contamination. To identify virulence factors characteristic APEC we compared outbreak strains isolated from diseased chickens with non-outbreak strains by determining their profile of 19 virulence associated genes (VAGs). The results were analyzed by multiple correspondence analysis and six genes were identified as being most significantly associated with pathogenic APEC strains. Within the project a loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method for fast detection of avian pathogenic E. coli was developed. The method has proven to be fast and reliable for detection of the selected genes in laboratory as well as in field conditions.
Significance for the country
Poultry meat is one of the world's most important sources of animal proteins for human consumption. In Slovenia, poultry farming is one of the most stable livestock industries. With numerous animals housed on confined area intensive poultry production requires a special approach in disease prevention. Namely, within a flock infections can spread very rapidly and therapy is problematic due to antimicrobial resistance. On the other hand, animals in intensive poultry farming systems are facing stress, which manifests itself in different ways, very often as a negative effect on immune system which could results in increased susceptibility for various diseases. Infections with avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) cause colibacillosis, an acute and mostly systemic disease which is one of the major health problem in intensive raised poultry. Outbreaks can cause high economical losses due to higher mortality, reduced egg production, reduced hatchability and need for antibiotic treatment. Within the project we evaluated the factors associated with the E. coli infection and the clinical outcomes of the disease in all categories of poultry. In addition, efficiacy of prophylactic vaccination against E. coli was evaluated and the sources of E.coli introduction into the poultry farms were studied. The very important outcome of the project is developement of the guitline for the control of colibacillosis in poultry flocks. The results of the project are directly applicable for poultry producers in Slovenia and as such have positive effect from the view of competition of international poultry market. Moreover, infection prevention and control of colibacillosis in poultry flocks enables reduction of antibiotic use, which is important for the effective battle against antimicrobial resistance.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2015, final report
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