The study used PCR to determine the molecular basis of the antibiotic resistance and virulence profiles of isolates of Salmonella by targeting genes encoding for carriage and persistence in the poultry. Of a total 1,503 cecal samples collected from poultry, 91 (6.1%) were positive for Salmonella. Ten different serotypes were detected from Salmonella isolates. The study was also conducted to determine the occurrence of 13 virulence and 12 resistance genes in isolates of Salmonella. All 46 isolates of Salmonella tested were positive for one or more of the 12 virulence genes detected, ranging from 0.0% (viaB) to 100.0% (invA, mgtB, pipA, and spi4D) (P < 0.05). Occurrence of virulence genes varied significantly (P < 0.05) by serotype but not by animal species. Only 4 (33.3%) of 12 resistance genes assayed were detected: strA, ampC, cmy2, and qnrB. Overall, the occurrence of detected resistance genes was 71.7% (33 of 46), and 87.1 and 40.0% of the isolates from chickens and ducks, respectively, were positive (P = 0.0009). The occurrence of resistance genes ranged from 2.2% (cmy2) to 50.0% (qnrB) in isolates positive for resistance gene. The findings provide evidence that poultry from “pluck shops” are colonized by Salmonella pathogens that harbor virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes; this may have clinical and therapeutic consequences, if the genes detected are expressed. Although there is a need for prudent use of antimicrobial agents in poultry production systems, there should be constant monitoring for the prevalence of resistance in Salmonella isolates using phenotypic methods. The importance of monitoring the occurrence of resistance genes in the pathogens in Trinidad cannot be ignored.

  • Salmonella with virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes colonize poultry from pluck shops.

  • Most of the isolates of Salmonella tested were positive for 13 virulence genes.

  • Salmonella with virulence genes may play an important role in causing severe infection.

  • Of tested resistance genes, only strA, ampC, cmy2, and qnrB were found, at a prevalence of 71.7%.

  • Salmonella Molade isolates had identical resistance patterns, with the exception of qnrB.

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