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  • 1 Semmelweis University Institute of Medical Microbiology H-1089 Budapest Nagyvárad tér 4 Hungary
  • 2 Central Veterinary Institute Budapest Hungary
  • 3 University of Edinburgh Centre for Infectious Diseases Scotland UK
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The presence of the vanA gene was determined in enterococci from healthy poultry, originating from the Hungarian resistance monitoring system between 2001 and 2004. Enterococci (n = 562) were collected from intestinal samples of slaughtered broiler chickens. The presence of van genes was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) strains carried only the vanA gene. Genus- and species-level identification of the vanA gene carrier strains was carried out by PCR using specific primers. In 2001, 25 out of the 289 isolated strains (8.6%) were vanA carriers (1 Enterococcus mundtii , 13 E. durans and 11 E. faecium ). In 2002 (n = 87), 20 (23%) strains were vanA positive (11 E. durans and 9 E. faecium ). In 2003 and 2004, none of the strains (n = 95 and 91, respectively) were positive for the most common van genes. In 2003, there was only one strain for which higher minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of vancomycin (4 mg/L) and teicoplanin (8 mg/L) were found. In 2004 there were three strains for which the MIC of vancomycin was 8 mg/L, and 2 strains and 1 strain with teicoplanin MICs of 4 mg/L and 8 mg/L, respectively. The potential similarity of these strains was studied by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The VRE strains were not closely related to one another. The annual data of vancomycin resistance indicate an association between the recovery of vancomycin-resistant enterococci and the use of avoparcin in animal feeds. This study indicates that with the reduced use of antibiotics in food animals, it is possible to decrease the rate of resistant bacteria. Although the use of avoparcin had been banned in 1998, the VRE strains disappeared only five years later.

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