This study was conducted to determine the antibiotic resistance profile of Escherichia coli isolated from apparently healthy domestic livestock viz: cattle, goats, poultry and swine from three states in South East of Nigeria. E. coli was isolated using Eosin Methylene Blue agar (EMB) and identified by conventional microbiological technique. The isolates were tested against 14 antibiotics using the disc diffusion method. A total of 42 different antibiotics resistance profiles were observed, with each isolate showing resistance to at least four or more drugs tested. Generally, the 80 E. coli isolates showed resistance rates of 85% to Ampicillin; 90% to Cotrimaoxazole, 90% to Cephalothin; 77.5% to Streptomycin, 62.5% to Nitrofurantoin; 68.8% to Tetracycline; 55% to Chloramphenicol; 56.3% to Amoxicillin clavulanic acid; 58.8% to Cefpirome; 47.5% to Cefpodoxime; 43.8% to Cefotaxine; 22.5% to Ceftriaxone; 18.8% to Cefoxitin; 16.3% to Nalidixic acid and 12.5% to Gentamycin. Statistical analysis showed that average number of resistance phenotypes per isolate was significantly higher for goat and poultry compared with cattle and swine (P<0.0001). A significant public health concern observed in this study is that multidrug-resistant commensal E. coli strains may constitute a potential reservoir of resistance genes that could be transferred to pathogenic bacteria.
Key words: Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Nigeria.
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