Extended spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-PE) represent a significant public health concern globally and are recognized by the World Health Organization as pathogens of critical priority. However, the prevalence of ESBL-PE in food animals and humans across the farm-to-plate continuum is yet to be elucidated in Sub-Saharan countries including Cameroon and South Africa.

Dr Luria Founou and colleagues published an article revealing that Extended spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-PE) posed a serious threat in the food chain and by extension for the global health. In this study, the authors sought to determine the risk factors, carriage, antimicrobial resistance profiles and genetic relatedness of extended spectrum β-lactamase producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-PE) amid pigs and abattoir workers in Cameroon and South Africa.

They screened ESBL-PE from pooled samples of 432 pigs and nasal and hand swabs of 82 humans and confirmed the species identity with VITEK 2 system. Genomic fingerprinting was performed by ERIC-PCR to establish genetic relationship within and between animal and human strains. Logistic regression (univariate and multivariate) analyses were carried out to identify risk factors for human ESBL-PE carriage using a questionnaire survey amongst abattoir workers.

ESBL-PE prevalence in animal samples from Cameroon were higher than for South Africa and ESBL-PE carriage was observed in Cameroonian workers only. Nasal ESBL-PE colonization was statistically significantly associated with hand ESBL-PE (21.95% vs. 91.67%; p = 0.000; OR = 39.11; 95% CI 2.02⁻755.72; p = 0.015). Low level of education, lesser monthly income, previous hospitalization, recent antibiotic use, inadequate handwashing, lack of training and contact with poultry were the risk factors identified.

The study highlighted the threat posed by ESBL-PE in the food chain and the authors therefore recommend the implementation of effective strategies for antibiotic resistance containment through the farm-to-plate continuum in Cameroon and South Africa.