Antimicrobial resistance, biofilm synthesis and virulence genes in Salmonella isolated from pigs bred on intensive farms

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Elena Barilli
Cristina Bacci *
Zulena Stella Villa
Giuseppe Merialdi
Mario D’Incau
Franco Brindani
Alice Vismarra
(*) Corresponding Author:
Cristina Bacci |


Salmonella is the second cause of foodborne infection in humans in the USA and Europe. Pigs represent the second most important reservoir for the pathogen and the consumption of pork meat is a major risk factor for human salmonellosis. Here, we evaluated the virulence patterns of eleven Salmonella isolated from pigs (carcasses and faces) bred in intensive farms in the north of Italy. The two serotypes identified were S. Typhimurium and its monophasic variant 1,4,5,12:i:-. None of the isolates was an ESBL producer, as confirmed also by PCR. However, the presence of a multidrug resistant pattern was evident, with all the isolates being resistant to at least to five antimicrobial agents belonging to various classes. Moreover, six out of eleven isolates showed important resistance profiles, such as resistance against colistin and ciprofloxacin, with nine to twelve recorded resistances. The isolates were negative for the biofilm synthesis test, while four different virulotypes were characterized. All the isolates showed the presence of invA, hilA, stn, ssrA, sipC. One sample also harbored ssaR and spvC genes. One strain was positive for all the virulence genes tested and was resistant to 12 antimicrobial agents. The present study contributes new data to the surveillance program for antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, the presence of eleven highly virulent isolates poses concern for human health in relation to their diffusion in the environment.

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