Listeria species are worldwide zoonotic pathogens. Out breaks of listeriosis are linked refrigerated foods that are consumed without proper heating. Besides, indiscriminate use of antimicrobials leads to an increase in the rate of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among Listeria species. However, the prevalence of Listeria species and their AMR pattern along food chilling lines at Haramaya University was not yet known. Therefore, a cross sectional study was conducted between the periods of October 2016 and April 2017 with the objectives to determine the prevalence of Listeria species and determine the antimicrobial profile of the isolates along food chilling lines at Haramaya University, Ethiopia. A total of 192 swab samples (96 food items and 96 refrigerator walls) were collected purposively. Isolation of Listeria from the samples was attempted as per the protocol of ISO 11290-1:1996. Disk diffusion method was used to assess antimicrobial profile of the Listeria isolates for five antimicrobials. The overall prevalence of Listeria species in food chilling lines was found to be 34.4%. The specific prevalence of Listeria species in food swab and refrigerator swab were 33.3% and 35.4% respectively but there was no statistically significant difference (P>0.05) on the prevalence of Listeria species in food and refrigerator swab. All the isolates were found to be resistance to penicillin, 80.4% to vancomycin, 64.8% to trimethoprim, 51% to tetracycline and 41.9% to cephalosporin. The high prevalence of Listeria species and their high antimicrobial resistance pattern along food chilling lines in this study represent a poor keeping quality and indiscriminate use of drugs at the study area. This suggests the need to implement sanitary measures and awareness creations to improve the hygienic conditions of refrigerators and food items kept in a refrigerator as well as proper use of antimicrobials in order to guarantee the quality of food products kept in refrigerators so as to safeguard the health of the consumers.
Ebsa Bushura and Mekonnen Addis