P1-223 Prevalence of Antibiotic-resistant Enteric Escherichia coli Isolated from Fecal Samples of Food Handlers in Qatar

Monday, July 10, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Tampa Convention Center)
Walid Alali , Hamad Bin Khalifa University , Doha , Qatar
Nahla Eltai , Qatar University , Doha , Qatar
Marwan Abou-Madi , Qatar University , Doha , Qatar
Introduction: Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a major clinical and public health problem. The use and misuse of antibiotics, poor infection control practices, inadequate sanitary conditions, and inappropriate food-handling encourage the further spread of antibiotic resistance.  

Purpose:  The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of antibiotic resistant (AR) enteric E. coli isolated from fecal samples of immigrant food handlers in Qatar. There are currently limited information on antibiotic resistance profiles in commensal enteric organisms from non-clinical human populations in Qatar.

Methods: Food handlers arriving to Qatar for work go through a mandatory medical screening at the Medical Commission. The screening include submitting a fecal sample for pathogen monitoring. A randomly selected subset of the fecal samples (n=178) were used for E. coli isolation and antibiotic susceptibility testing using E-test StripTM (BioMerieux, France) against 9 antibiotics (Ampicillin, trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, chloramphenicol, ceftriaxone, gentamicin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid).  

Results: Nearly 29% of the fecal samples (n=178) were positive for E. coli. Thus far, 36 E. coli isolates have been characterized for antibiotic susceptibility. About 53% of these isolates were resistant to at least one antibiotic; whereas 33.3% of the isolates were multi-drug resistant (those resistant to three or more antibiotics). The highest resistance prevalence was to trimethoprim (39%), followed by ampicillin (36.1%), and sulfamethoxazole and tetracycline (33.3%, each). Resistance to ciprofloxacin (16.7%) and ceftriaxone (5.6%) were observed. 

Significance: It appears that the study subjects (food handlers that are, in general, healthy individuals), carry an array of multi-drug resistant enteric E. coli bacteria, which can pose a significant public health risk to the general population in Qatar. This risk magnitude is dependent on AR E. coli dissemination through food contaminated due to inappropriate food-handling.