Antimicrobial profiles of E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter spp from raw and roasted chicken meat. A case of vending points along selected highways in Uganda
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Food-borne pathogens are an emerging threat in lieu of increased population growth and urbanization. Safety of ready-to-eat foods notably those on highways is questionable as several cases of gastro-intestinal issues have frequently been reported. Paucity of data on microbial safety of ready-to-eat foods hinders appropriate planning of strategies to alleviate food related illnesses. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the prevalence of E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw and roasted chicken meat vended on major sites along the three major routes in Uganda. A field based cross sectional study was carried out to establish the prevalence and susceptibility to antibiotics of E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw and roasted chicken meat vended on major sites along the three major routes in Uganda that is Namawojjolo (Kampala-Jinja highway), Lukaya (Kampala-Masaka highway) and Balikyejjusa (Kampala-Gulu highway). E. coli was the most common contaminant in both roasted and raw chicken meat (72.4%, 110/152); followed by Campylobacter, (26.3%, 40/152) and lastly Salmonella (5.9%, 9/152). In raw chicken meat E. coli was the most isolated bacteria with 92.9% (78/84), followed by Campylobacter with 47.6% (40/84) and Salmonella with 10.7% (9/84). Roasted chicken meat was contaminated with only E. coli 47.1% (32/68) but was free of Campylobacter and Salmonella. The latter were abundant in raw chicken meat. Antimicrobial resistance was observed towards Ampicillin, Tetracycline and Amoxicillin and Clavulanic acid by E. coli and Salmonella. Meanwhile Campylobacter was mainly resistant to Ceftriaxone and Ciprofloxacin. Generally, hygiene and sanitation of the sites and vendors was very poor; poor personal hygiene, dirty abattoir surfaces, dirty knives used and dirty working environment with the presence of stagnant dirty water observed in one of the sites. Therefore, there is need to conduct full scale sensitization and continuous education to chicken meat handlers along these routes on standard hygiene and sanitation practices. A study to follow up at the poultry farms that supply these chickens is also needed to determine if meat contamination and antimicrobial resistance are associated with farming practices that can facilitate mitigation strategies.