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Evaluating targets for control of plasmid-mediated antimicrobial resistance in enteric commensals of beef cattle: a modelling approach

  • V. V. VOLKOVA (a1), Z. LU (a1), C. LANZAS (a2) and Y. T. GROHN (a1)

Enteric commensal bacteria of food animals may serve as a reservoir of genes encoding antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The genes are often plasmidic. Different aspects of bacterial ecology can be targeted by interventions to control plasmid-mediated AMR. The field efficacy of interventions remains unclear. We developed a deterministic mathematical model of commensal Escherichia coli in its animate and non-animate habitats within a beef feedlot's pen, with some E. coli having plasmid-mediated resistance to the cephalosporin ceftiofur. We evaluated relative potential efficacy of within- or outside-host biological interventions delivered throughout rearing depending on the targeted parameter of bacterial ecology. Most instrumental in reducing the fraction of resistant enteric E. coli at steer slaughter age were interventions acting on the enteric E. coli and capable of either ‘plasmid curing’ E. coli, or lowering maximum E. coli numbers or the rate of plasmid transfer in this habitat. Also efficient was to increase the regular replacement of enteric E. coli. Lowering replication rate of resistant E. coli alone was not an efficient intervention target.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr V. V. Volkova, Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, S2-064 Schurman Hall, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. (Email:
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