In the last 10 years, Salmonella Heidelberg has been extensively isolated from poultry in several countries. In this context, molecular characterization is essential to understand whether the strains have entered the farms from a single or several sources. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine the genetic relationship and antimicrobial susceptibility of S. Heidelberg strains isolated between 2011 and 2012 from broiler farms belonging to three integrated poultry companies located in Argentina. The genetic relatedness of the S. Heidelberg isolates was determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and resistance to 21 antimicrobials was determined by the disc diffusion method. The isolates were assigned to four PFGE patterns. Most of the strains showed 100% similarity and belonged to the same integrated poultry company. This PFGE pattern was also prevalent in S. Heidelberg strains isolated from humans in several provinces of Argentina, which suggests an epidemiological association between human and poultry strains. All the isolates were classified as multidrug-resistant (MDR), and no clear relationship was observed between PFGE and resistance patterns. S. Heidelberg strains may circulate among farms from the same integrated company due to common sources of contamination. To guarantee the safety of the poultry product for the consumers, holistic approaches including surveillance of Salmonella throughout the production chain together with control measures are crucial.
Key words: Antimicrobial resistance, Argentina, Farms, Poultry, Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, Salmonella Heidelberg.
Abstract published in Zoonoses and Public Health, February 2021. https://doi.org/10.1111/zph.12819.