Escherichia coli O157:H7 is an important foodborne pathogen but largely under investigated in Africa. The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence and pattern of antimicrobial resistance of E. coli O157:H7 in lettuce in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A total of 390 retail lettuce samples were collected across the 10 subcities of Addis Ababa. E. coli O157:H7 was isolated and identified following ISO-16654:2001 standard. The isolates were further tested for antimicrobial susceptibility to 13 antimicrobials using the Kirby–Bauer disk diffusion method. Out of the 390 lettuce samples examined, two (0.51%) carried E. coli O157:H7. The antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of strains showed resistance to ampicillin (100%) and tetracycline (50.0%). One of the two isolates was multidrug resistant to two antimicrobials tested. The results of this study demonstrate the presence of drug-resistant E. coli O157:H7 in lettuce in markets in Addis Ababa. Despite the low prevalence, its presence in a product that is eaten raw highlights potential public health risk in the area associated with this pathogen.
Haile, A.F., Alonso, S., Berhe, N., Atoma, T.B., Boyaka, P.N. and Grace, D. 2021. Escherichia coli O157:H7 in retail lettuce (Lactuca sativa) in Addis Ababa city: Magnitude of contamination and antimicrobial susceptibility pattern. Frontiers in Microbiology 12: 694506.