Microorganisms. 2021 Apr 27;9(5):946. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9050946.
Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) causes colibacillosis, which is an economically important disease in the poultry industry worldwide. The present study investigated O-serogroups, phylogenetic groups, antimicrobial resistance, and the existence of virulence-associated genes (VAGs) and antimicrobial resistance genes in 125 APEC isolates between 2018 and 2019 in Korea. The phylogenetic group B2 isolates were confirmed for human-related sequence types (STs) through multi-locus sequence typing (MLST). O-serogroups O2 (12.5%) and O78 (10.3%) and phylogenetic group B1 (36.5%) and A (34.5%) were predominant in chicken and duck isolates, respectively. Out of 14 VAGs, iucD, iroN, hlyF, and iss were found significantly more in chicken isolates than duck isolates (p < 0.05). The resistance to ampicillin, ceftiofur, ceftriaxone, and gentamicin was higher in chicken isolates than duck isolates (p < 0.05). The multidrug resistance (MDR) rates of chicken and duck isolates were 77.1% and 65.5%, respectively. One isolate resistant to colistin (MIC 16 μg/mL) carried mcr-1. The B2-ST95 APEC isolates possessed more than 9 VAGs, and most of them were MDR (82.4%). This report is the first to compare the characteristics of APEC isolates from chickens and ducks in Korea and to demonstrate that B2-ST95 isolates circulating in Korea have zoonotic potential and pose a public health risk.