This study aimed to estimate Butchers hands and articles as a source ofE. coli contamination in poultry meat and slaughterhouses andto estimate the effect of random antimicrobials usage on the antimicrobial susceptibility of the isolated E. coli. A total of 192 samples were collected from four poultry abattoirs in El-Beheira governorate. Samples were collected from butchers' hands, articles, carcass internal and external surfaces. E. coli was isolated and identified by culture, biochemical analysis and PCR. Further the isolates were studied for their antimicrobial susceptibility against 11 commonly used antibiotics in poultry farms. E. coliwas detected in hands (87.5%), articles(81.25%), internal(80.35%) and external (78.57%) surfaces of the carcasses. The highest antimicrobial sensitivity of the isolates were detected to Tobramycin (100%), Cefotaxime (50-75%) and Chloramphenicol (59-66.7%). While, the highest resistance was detected to Penicillin, Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprin, (100%), Amoxicillin (93- 100%), Cephradine and Doxycycline. Further, multiple antimicrobial resistance was detected. By PCR, 33.3% (2/6) of the samples from the internal surface of the carcasses were positive for the intimin; eaeA gene. Thus, contamination of chicken carcasses in the abattoirs with pathogenic E. coli that resists different antimicrobials poses a challenge for human food and thus human health. The use of antimicrobials as well asapplying hygienic proceduresin abattoirs are clearly a necessity for the production of healthy food.
Key words: E. coli, abattoir, chicken carcasses, antimicrobial sensitivity