ABSTRACT

Fresh produce–borne enteric bacterial pathogens that are resistant to antibiotics have posed serious challenges to food safety and public health worldwide. This study was conducted to evaluate the antibiotic resistance profiles of Salmonella enterica isolates (n = 33) recovered from exotic and indigenous leafy green vegetable samples (n = 328) collected from 50 vegetable farms in 12 farming areas and 37 vegetable sellers in four market centers in Accra, Ghana, from March 2016 to March 2017 and to determine the distribution of integrons among antibiotic-resistant isolates. The susceptibility of the Salmonella isolates to 12 antibiotics was assayed with the standard disk diffusion assay. The MICs of the five most resisted antibiotics were determined with a twofold macrodilution method. A PCR assay was used to detect the presence of integrons in Salmonella isolates, and PCR products with the amplified integron gene cassette were purified and sequenced with the Sanger sequencing technology. The Salmonella isolates used in the study were resistant to at least one tested antibiotic, and 30.3% (10 of 33) of the isolates were multidrug resistant. Most isolates (81.8%) were resistant to sulfisoxazole. The MICs of tetracycline, cefoxitin, streptomycin, ampicillin, and sulfisoxazole were 16, 32, 64, 64, and >1,024 μg/mL, respectively. Five patterns of multidrug resistance were observed among the Salmonella isolates, and the most common patterns were AAuFox (30.3%) and AAuFoxSSu (18.1%). One (3.0%) of the 33 Salmonella isolates tested positive for the class 1 integron, with a gene cassette of about 800 bp. Nucleotide sequencing revealed that this class 1 integron carried a single gene, dfrA7. Further studies are needed to determine whether the consumption of contaminated leafy green vegetables is a route for acquiring antibiotic-resistant Salmonella in Accra, Ghana.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Multidrug-resistant Salmonella was isolated from leafy vegetables in Ghana.

  • The common multidrug resistance patterns were AAuFox and AAuFoxSSu.

  • Most isolates (27 of 33) were resistant to sulfisoxazole.

  • One (3%) of the 33 isolates tested positive for a class 1 integron.

  • The class 1 integron carried a single gene, dfrA7.

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