Kitfo is a version of beef tartar widely consumed in the Ethiopian community. It is made from raw minced beef and a blend of powdered spice and butter. Although previous studies have shown that kitfo contains several bacteria that are of public health concern, the status of their antibiotic resistance is not known. In this study, the antibiotic resistance of bacterial isolates from twenty-six retail kitfo samples obtained from the Metropolitan Washington area was analyzed. Characterization and antibiotic sensitivity of the isolates were determined by the VITEK 2 system, while Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to delineate the intraspecies variations. Fifty-nine percent of the isolates were resistant to two or more antibiotics. Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Pseudomonas luteola were multidrug-resistant to the classes of beta-lactam, cephalosporins, and nitrofurantoin. The antibiotic susceptibility profile of the isolates were: cefazolin (59%), cefoxitin (50%), ampicillin (32%), and nitrofuran (18%). Most of the isolates (75%), were Enterobacteriaceae, while only 3.8% and 2.6% were Pseudomonadaceae and Moraxellaceae, respectively. Of the Enterobacteriaceae, Enterobacter cloacae , Escherichia coli , and Klebsiella spp. were the most predominant. All isolates except Klebsiella spp. showed high genetic variation (>65%). This study implicates kitfo as a potential reservoir of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for the first time.

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