BACKGROUND: Disinfectants are frequently used in animal production to reduce or eliminate the load of infectious agents and parasites in buildings and equipment associated with the housing or transportation of animals. There are growing concerns that the use of disinfectants would select for resistance to antibiotics and disinfectants. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of repeated use of different disinfectants on the disinfectant and antibiotic susceptibility under practical conditions in a broiler and pig pilot farm. Therefore, the susceptibility of Escherichia coli (E. coli) to 14 antibiotics and 4 disinfectants was monitored over a one-year period.
RESULTS: High (20-50%) to very high (> 50%) resistance levels for ampicillin, sulfamethoxazole, trimethoprim and tetracycline were observed in both animal production types. Disinfectant susceptibility did not change over time and did not depend on the used disinfection product. Compared to in-use concentrations of formaldehyde, benzalkoniumchloride and a peracetic acid - hydrogen peroxide formulation, all E. coli strains remained susceptible indicating that the use of disinfectants did not select for disinfectant resistance. Moreover, no association could be found between the use of disinfectants and antibiotic resistance.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that repeated use of disinfectants in agricultural environments does not select for antibiotic resistance nor does it reduce disinfectant susceptibility.