Prevalence and risk factors associated with emergence of Rhodococcus equi resistance to macrolides and rifampicin in horse-breeding farms in Kentucky, USA Academic Article uri icon


  • The combination of a macrolide and rifampicin has been the mainstay of therapy in foals with Rhodococcus equi pneumonia for decades. Recent studies suggest that mass antimicrobial treatment of subclinically affected foals over time has selected for antimicrobial resistance. Our objective was to estimate the prevalence of R. equi strains resistant to macrolides and rifampicin at horse breeding farms in Kentucky. A hundred breeding farms in Kentucky were surveyed and R. equi were cultured from soil samples. Data were analyzed with logistic regression and generalized linear modeling (P < 0.05). Seventy-six percent (76%) of farms yielded resistant R. equi, and resistance to macrolides and rifampicin was associated with their use at farms. The present study is the first to report the prevalence and distribution of resistant isolates in the environment of farms in Kentucky, USA. Collectively, previous reports and the data presented herein provide irrefutable evidence of emerging antimicrobial resistance in R. equi with alarming prevalence. Widespread dissemination and maintenance of resistance genes in the environment where many other pathogenic bacteria exist is a concern for both animal and human health.

altmetric score

  • 1.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Huber, L., Giguère, S., Cohen, N. D., Slovis, N. M., Hanafi, A., Schuckert, A., ... Hart, K. A.

citation count

  • 16

publication date

  • August 2019