Antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from Swiss veal calves at slaughter

Di Labio, E.; Schüpbach, Gertraud Irene; Steiner, Adrian; Miserez, R.; Thomann, A.; Ledergerber, U. (2007). Antimicrobial resistance in bacteria from Swiss veal calves at slaughter. Zoonoses and public health, 54(9-10), pp. 344-352. Berlin: Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2007.01071.x

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Bacteria with antimicrobial resistance can be transferred from animals to humans and may compromise antimicrobial treatment in case of infection. To determine the antimicrobial resistance situation in bacteria from Swiss veal calves, faecal samples from 500 randomly selected calves originating from 129 farms were collected at four big slaughterhouses. Samples were cultured for Escherichia coli, Enterococcus sp. and Campylobacter sp. and isolated strains were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility to selected antimicrobial agents by the minimal inhibitory concentration technique using the broth microdilution method. From 100 farms, data on farm management, animal husbandry and antimicrobial treatments of the calves were collected by questionnaire. Risk factors associated with antimicrobial resistance were identified by logistic regression. In total, 467 E. coli, 413 Enterococcus sp. and 202 Campylobacter sp. were isolated. Of those, 68.7%, 98.7% and 67.8%, respectively, were resistant to at least one of the tested antimicrobial agents. Resistance was mainly observed to antimicrobials frequently used in farm animals. Prevalence of resistance to antimicrobials important for human treatment was generally low. However, a rather high number of quinupristin/dalfopristin-resistant Enterococcus faecium and ciprofloxacin-resistant Campylobacter sp. were detected. External calf purchase, large finishing groups, feeding of milk by-products and administration of antimicrobials through feed upon arrival of the animals on the farm significantly increased the risk of antimicrobial resistance at farm level. Participation in a quality assurance programme and injection of a macrolide upon arrival of the animals on the farm had a protective effect. The present study showed that veal calves may serve as a reservoir for resistant bacteria. To ensure food safety, veal calves should be included in the national monitoring programme for antimicrobial resistance in farm animals. By improving farm management and calf husbandry the prevalence of resistance may be reduced.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Veterinary Bacteriology

UniBE Contributor:

Schüpbach, Gertraud Irene; Steiner, Adrian; Miserez, Raymond François and Thomann, Andreas


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture






Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:53

Last Modified:

13 Mar 2020 15:59

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URI: (FactScience: 34356)

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