Surveillance data of cattle and human isolates of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 indicate that this pathogen emerged worldwide in the 1980s, particularly in cattle. Studies were conducted to determine the prevalence of Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 in ground beef. Samples were also tested for the presence of generic Escherichia coli. A total of 404 fresh ground beef samples obtained at retail stores from New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, and Chicago were shipped overnight to Georgia for processing. Salmonella spp. were isolated from 14 (3.5%) samples. Eight different serotypes were identified among the isolates, including Salmonella Typhimurium (5), Salmonella Lille (3), Salmonella Montevideo (1), Salmonella Hadar (1), Salmonella Meleagridis (1), Salmonella Cerro (1), Salmonella Kentucky (1), and Salmonella Muenster (1). Antibiotic resistance profiles indicated that all five Salmonella Typhimurium isolates were resistant to ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfamethoxazole, ticarcillin, and tetracycline but that they were sensitive to chloramphenicol. Phage typing revealed that all five Salmonella Typhimurium isolates were DT104A, a subtype of DT104. All five Salmonella Typhimurium DT104A isolates were obtained from ground beef sampled from retail outlets in San Francisco. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) genomic DNA profiles of the five Salmonella Typhimurium DT104A isolates from ground beef were indistinguishable from those of four control Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 penta-resistant isolates from cattle that were used for comparison. A total of 102 generic E. coli isolates were obtained, only three of which were multi-resistant to antibiotics. In addition, three E. coli isolates were recovered from samples that were positive for Salmonella Typhimurium DT104A. No correlation of antibiotic resistance profiles was observed between Salmonella Typhimurium DT104A and generic E. coli, as two of the three E. coli isolates were susceptible to all of the antibiotics tested, and the third isolate was resistant only to cephalothin. These data indicate that Salmonella Typhimurium DT104A can be isolated from retail ground beef, and because there was little overlap in antibiotic resistance patterns between Salmonella Typhimurium DT104A and E. coli isolates from the same ground beef samples, these limited data suggest that the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes among enteric bacteria in ground beef may not be common. This latter observation is further supported by the limited isolation of multiantibiotic-resistant E. coli from retail ground beef.

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