Meat is the main source of protein and valuable qualities of vitamins for most people in various parts of the world and is essential for the growth, repair, and maintenance of body cells and crucial for our everyday activities [1]. Due to this rich composition, it offers a highly favorable environment for the growth of pathogenic bacteria [2]. Food-borne microorganisms are major pathogens affecting food safety and cause human disease worldwide as a result of consumption of foodstuff, mainly animal products contaminated with vegetative pathogens or their toxins [3].

The majority of food-borne bacteria frequently cause self-limiting gastroenteritis but, invasive diseases and various complexities may also occur. Among these, E. coli causes bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome and Salmonella causes systemic salmonellosis [4]. Salmonella has been the problem of public health concern as an agent causing food-borne diseases for over a century. It has been estimated to be responsible for 30% of the food-borne outbreaks in the United States [5]. In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) Food-borne Disease Burden Epidemiology Reference Group published the world’s first estimates of the global and regional incidence and burden of food-borne disease (FBD). It is estimated that in 2010, 31 major food-borne hazards resulted in over 600 million illnesses and 420,000 deaths worldwide in 2010 [6].

Salmonella has been the problem of public health concern as an agent causing food-borne diseases for over a century. It has been estimated to be responsible for 30% of the food-borne outbreaks in the United States [5]. Salmonellosis is a common food borne disease and is caused by a very diverse group of Salmonella enterica strains. The major pathogenic serovars of Salmonella enterica that infect humans from a variety of different food products include Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella typhimurium [7].

E. coli is a natural inhabitant of the human intestinal tract and warm-blooded animals and it used as an indicator bacterium since these bacteria acquires antimicrobial resistance faster than other conventional bacteria. E.coli is a well-known commensal of the gastrointestinal tract of vertebrates, including humans, but it is also involved in intestinal and extra intestinal pathologies [8].

Extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing Gram negative bacteria are considered as the main health problem, globally. The beta lactam rings of third generation cephalosporins are hydrolyzed by the ESBL enzyme which alters the structure of the antibiotic. Due to the alteration in the structure of the antibiotic, bacteria show resistance to these antibiotics [9]. ESBLs-producing E.coli isolates have emerged as a global threat to human health, and have been isolated from human, animal and environmental origins. The small but progressively increasing use of third generation cephalosporins in food animal production may be associated with the recent emergence of ESBLs-producing bacteria that are related to cattle [10].

Multidrug resistance has been increased all over the world that is considered a public health threat. Several recent investigations reported the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens from different origins including humans, birds, cattle, and fish that increase the need for routine application of the antimicrobial susceptibility testing to detect the antibiotic of choice as well as the screening of the emerging MDR strains [11].

The occurrence of MDR has increased worldwide. The MDR bacterial pathogens from several origins were described by numerous recent studies that reflect public health threats [12, 13]. Continuous surveillance of antimicrobial susceptibility is essential to select the drug of choice due to the development of multidrug-resistant strains [14].

The emergence of multidrug-resistant Gram- negative rods is mentioned by different studies. It is usually associated with bad prognosis and medication-failure [15]. The antimicrobial resistance in E. coli is mainly attributed to the ESBLs; which could destroy various β-lactam antimicrobial agents as penicillins, various generations of cephalosporins, and carbapenems. [16].

E. coli have many virulence-associated factors, including adhesins, toxins, iron acquisition factors, lipopolysaccharides, polysaccharide capsules, and invasins, which are usually encoded on pathogenicity islands (PAIs), plasmids, and other mobile genetic elements. These factors are important in the epidemiology and pathophysiology of E. coli infections [17, 18]. Many virulence factors have been demonstrated to play variety of roles in the pathogenesis of Salmonella infections. These factors included flagella, capsule, plasmids, adhesion systems, and type 3 secretion systems (T3SS) encoded on the Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI)-1 and SPI-2 and other SPIs [19].

Evaluation of meat at the retail level is recognized as a useful way to assess the risk of consumer exposure to enteric pathogens and antimicrobial resistance. During meat handling processes, meat may become contaminated with bacteria from the animal’s digestive tract, even under conditions of strict hygiene [20]. However, reports about salmonella species and ESBLs producing Escherichia coli isolates from raw cattle meat at butcher houses in Hawassa city are inadequate. Hence the current study aimed to assess the prevalence and antimicrobial susceptibility of Salmonella species and Extended-spectrum β-lactamase producing Escherichia coli from raw cattle meat at butcher houses in Hawassa city, Sidama regional state, Ethiopia.

Materials and methods

Sample size and sampling technique

The sample size was calculated by using sample size determination for estimation of single population proportion formula. By using the anticipated population proportion of 20.8% [21], a study from Tigray, Northern Ethiopia, 95% confidence interval (z = 1.96) and 5% marginal error (d = 0.05), and assuming 10% non–response rate, the final sample size was 278. A convenient sampling technique was applied to select 278 butcher houses for interview and sample collection. From each selected butcher house 278 meat samples and 278 swabs were collected from knives and cutting boards.

Isolation and identification of E. coli and Salmonella species

Salmonella species were isolated and identified according to the technique suggested by the international organization for standardization [23]. Xylose lysine deoxycholate (XLD) agar (Oxoid, UK), MacConkey agar (Oxoid, UK), Hektoen Enteric (HE) agar (Oxoid, UK) plates were used for plating out and identification. A loop full of inoculums from buffered peptone water suspension was inoculated into XLD, HE and MacConkey agar plates and incubated at 37°C for 24 hours. Isolation of E. coli was conducted following standard procedure [24]. Upon arrival to the laboratory, all pre-enriched buffered peptone water broth raw meat samples were consequently inoculated to MacConkey agar and incubated at 37°C overnight. Bacterial growth were subjected in to lactose fermenter and non-lactose fermenter and the lactose fermenter colony were sub-cultured and incubated at 37°C for 24 hours. Identification of Salmonella species and E. coli was done using different biochemical tests (Oxoid, UK) including Triple sugar iron (TSI) agar, Methyl red, urease, indole, motility agar and citrate tests.



At the butcher houses, meat contamination might occur due to different potential factors such as storing food in dirty utensils, holding meat at a temperature that would allow microbial growth, poor hand washing practice, touching birr while selling meat, using unclean wrapping materials and due to lack of facilities for waste disposal. Moreover, the lack of awareness in basic personal cleanliness and safe meat handling increase the contamination of cattle meat by microorganisms [27].

This study revealed that the overall prevalence for both Salmonella species and ESBL producing E.coli was 36 (6.47%). The prevalence of Salmonella and ESBL producing E.coli was 23 (4.1%) and 13 (2.3%) respectively. The overall prevalence of both isolates in the raw minced meat samples was 13(36.1%) which had a lower proportion as compared with knife and chopping board swab samples, 23(63.9%). A study from Indonesia also showed that 58% of swab samples analyzed were contaminated with E. coli [28]. The contamination of knives and cutting boards is common because there is frequent contact with meat during selling, no regular washing of knives and cutting boards and no regular inspections. This might be posing great problems in a region where eating raw meat is a common tradition.

In this study, the prevalence of ESBL producing E.coli (2.3%) % is lower than the study finding in South Korea 20% [29] and in Tanzania 4.7% [30]. In addition to the above methodological differences, the observed differences might be also related to the abuse of third generation cephalosporins in food animals, because the use of these antibiotics is greatly linked to the recent emergence of ESBLs-producing bacteria. The prevalence of Salmonella species (4.1%), is higher than that of studies conducted in Dire Dawa (2.75%) [31] and Addis Abeba (3.7%) [32]. This variation might be due to the differences in the hygienic and sanitary practices in the butcher shops especially poor hand washing practices. Studies conducted in Malaysia [7], Ghana [33] and Jimma [34] showed the prevalence of salmonella species to be 10%, 30%, and 11.3% respectively which were higher than the current study. This difference might be due to hygiene and sanitation practice, methodology differences in sample collection and processing procedure.

Among meat handlers, 56% of them do not wash their hands regularly, which is higher than the study conducted in Bishoftu 9.4% [35]. This difference might be due to a lack of awareness of meat handlers on personal hygiene. Poor hand washing practice has a significant association with the prevalence of salmonella and E.coli in this study.

The current study showed that both isolates were highly sensitive to gentamicin, cotrimoxazole, ceftazidime, tetracycline and cefotaxime (85–100%) and (50–65%) of the isolates were resistant to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid. A study conducted in Nepal showed that higher resistance to amoxicillin- clavulnic acid (100%) and tetracycline (93%) [4] which is higher than the current study Another study conducted in Mekelle revealed 16(20.5%) multi drug resistance isolates which is lower than the current study (36%) [21]. This variation might be due to differences in sample sizes, characteristics of the antibiotics, the existence of a different strain of the bacteria, increasing of the resistant gene. Compared to other studies, the current study showed a low level of drug resistance which might be related to the fewer antimicrobial panels we used and the overall multidrug resistance bacteria were (36%).


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