A team of Dutch researchers set out to investigate if there is a connection between the ESBL poultry and the ESBL observed in humans by analyzing human and poultry samples as well as raw chicken meat from a number of supermarkets. The Check-Points array was used to confirm suspected ESBLs. Based on the results from the microarray relevant genes could be further analyzed using PCR and sequencing.

The ESBL prevalence in the retail chicken meat was high: 94% was found to contain ESBL. In the comparison between the human, poultry and chicken meat samples, CTX-M-1 and TEM-52 emerged as the main ESBLs. These genes accounted for 86%, 78% and 75% of ESBL isolates in human, poultry and retail chicken meat samples respectively. Of the poultry-associated genes that were identified in the study, 5 out of 6 were also found in the human samples. The authors conclude that 35% of the human isolates contained poultry-associated ESBL genes. 19% of these were located on plasmids that were genetically indistinguishable from those found in poultry.

The study,"Dutch patients, retail chicken meat and poultry share the same ESBL genes, plasmids and strains” by Leverstein-van Hall et al., will appear in Clinical Microbiology and Infection.