Purpose: The purpose of this study was to conduct a survey of antimicrobial resistance in dairy cattle in Kosovo through isolation and characterization of the indicator microorganisms Escherichia coli and Enterococcus spp.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the summer of 2014 on dairy farms representing the majority of dairy production regions of Kosovo. Fresh fecal samples were collected from 10 cattle in each of the 52 farms included in the study. Individual samples were mixed to form composite fecal samples (500 g) for each farm (n = 52). Isolation was performed on McConkey agar (E. coli) and Enterococcosel agar (Enterococcus spp.) or media supplemented with ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, or cefoxitin. Isolate confirmation was carried out by MALDI Biotyping. Antimicrobial susceptibilities were determined via the disk diffusion method according to CLSI guidelines.
Results: The highest percentage of resistant E. coli isolates (n = 165) were to ampicillin (29.7%), followed by cefazolin (26%) and tetracycline (19.4%). Notably, resistance was also high for piperacillin (17.6%), nalidixic acid (17%) and ciprofloxacin (13.3%). Among enterococci (n = 177), E. faecalis isolates were primarily resistant to erythromycin (36.5%), rifampin (33.8%), tetracycline (28.4%) and ciprofloxacin (27%). Similar trends were observed for E. faecium, with high levels of resistance to rifampin (52%), tetracycline (38%), ciprofloxacin (36%), doxycycline (28%) and erythromycin (20%).
Significance: This is the first survey of antimicrobial resistance in dairy operations of Kosovo, providing a baseline of antimicrobial resistance within this important niche of food production.