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An Integrated Approach to Control Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and Clostridium Difficile from Limited Resource Poultry

Investigators
Kilonzo-Nthenge, Agnes
Institutions
Tennessee State University
Start date
2011
End date
2014
Objective
The goal of this integrated research and extension project is to determine the prevalence and diffusion of Clostridium difficile (CID) in food animals and retail meats in Middle Tennessee. C. difficile isolates of animal origin will be compared to clinical isolated in Tennessee Department of Health (TDH). Judicious use of antibiotics, management of poultry and pigs, and safe handling practices for retail raw poultry and pork will be communicated to limited resource poultry producers and consumers. We hypothesize that research findings from this project will help comprehend the emergence, transmission, and epidemiology concerns of and C. difficile in the community.

Specific objectives are to:

  1. Isolate and estimate the prevalence of C. difficile in retail meats, food-producing animals, feed, manure, and farm environment;
  2. Characterize the profiles and patterns of antibiotic-resistant C. difficile from retail meats, poultry, pigs, feed, manure, and farm environment;
  3. To determine molecular epidemiological relatedness of animal C. difficile isolates to humans isolates
  4. Develop outreach programs to disseminate educational materials on appropriate animal management, prudent use of antibiotics in agriculture, and hygienic handling practices of retail meats.
  5. To increase undergraduate and graduate student's participation in food safety research and outreach
Packed meats will be purchased from 3 national-chain grocery stores in Middle Tennessee area in (1) January and March; (2) May and July, and (3) September and November for 2 consecutive years. Slaughterhouses samples will be collected also and transported to the laboratory for analysis C. difficile. Antibiotic resistant profiles of C. difficile it will be determined. The data will be used to develop education material on prudent use of antibiotics for animal producers in Tennessee. Consumers will be selected randomly to collect information about meat purchasing practices, transporting, storing and thawing, preparing, cooking, leftover meat handling, and demographic characteristics. Investigators will conduct structured in-person interviews on farmers' information sources, knowledge, and practices regarding antibiotic use in poultry and swine production. Educational outreach programs on appropriate animal management and consumers' hygiene handling practices of retail meats will be developed and disseminated to farmers and consumers.
More information
Non-Technical Summary:
Providing safe and quality food for all consumers is a priority for the National Integrated Food Safety Initiative (111.C). Resistance to antimicrobial drugs costs lives, money, and threatens the ability to treat infections in humans. Hence, antibiotic resistance (AR) is becoming a global food safety and public health challenge. Use of antibiotics in agriculture suggests contributing to the increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including foodborne pathogens such as antibiotic-resistant C. difficile. C. difficile strains have been isolated from several food-producing animals and during slaughtering; contamination of carcasses with C. difficile.may occur and consequently the meats may get contaminated. Foodborne transmission of C. difficile has been hypothesized as a possible source for community-associated infections; however, the data to confirm or refute this hypothesis is incomplete. This integrated research and extension project will determine the occurrence of these organisms with acquired resistance to selected antimicrobial agents in poultry and pork products, food animals, and the farm environment. Educational materials on safe poultry management and practices for handling retail raw meats will be developed and disseminated to limited resource poultry and pig producers, and consumers alongside research findings. The success of this project will be gauged by the effectiveness of the educational materials in improving poultry and pig management practices by producers and handling of raw meats by consumers. The anticipated outcome and impacts of this proposed project will provide scientific data on C. difficile to Tennessee Department of Health and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Such data is highly desirable and will add to efforts towards preventing the spread of these organisms. The research findings from this project will help comprehend the emergence, transmission, and epidemiology concerns of C. difficile in the community. The proposed project also complements continuing efforts at Tennessee State University (TSU) to strengthen food safety research with the ultimate goal of educating our stakeholders on emerging food safety issues.

Approach:
Isolation and characterization of C. difficile Raw poultry and pig and will be purchased from 3 national-chain grocery stores in Middle Tennessee. C. difficile will be isolated and characterized by convectional, biochemical, and Polymeraise Chain Reaction (PCR), and Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (genetic fingerprinting) will be applied in this study to determine if there is correlation among C. difficile strains isolated from retail meats, food animals, and the environment. These isolates will further be compared with clinical and C. difficile in Tennessee Department of Health. Antibiotic-resistant, C. difficile isolates from retail meats, food animals, and farm environment will be examined for multiple resistance to antibiotics that are relevant in human clinical and veterinary settings. Development and disseminate of educational materials on appropriate animal management and consumers' hygiene handling practices of retail meats. Prior to developing educational materials, focus groups will be chosen as follows: (1) conduct focus groups (elicitation interviews) to ascertain current animal production and management activities practiced by farmers, especially the limited resource poultry and pig producers (poultry n = 20), and raw meat handling practices by consumers (n = 100); (2) develop a survey based on knowledge gained from the focus groups (elicitation interviews) to critically analyze farmers' animal management practices and consumers' raw meat handling practices; (3) develop educational materials for farmers and consumer practices based on risks identified in initial focus groups and surveys. Personal interviews and on-farm visits will be conducted to further analyze the existence and magnitude of antibiotic use in poultry and pig production. Based on the antibiotic resistant profiles of C. difficile in farm environment and interview results from farmers, guidelines for prudent use of antibiotics in poultry and pig production as an important tool of risk management to reduce the consecutive development of resistance will be developed. The consumer questionnaire will collect information about meat purchasing practices, transporting, storing and thawing, preparing, cooking, leftover meat handling, and demographic characteristics. There will be workshops on hygienic handling of raw retail meats and how to avoid cross contamination during food preparation, and cold storage/hot holding.

Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
TENX-2011-04810
Accession number
227217
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication
Commodities
Meat, Poultry, Game