Information on the resistance profiles of normal intestinal flora of extensively reared chickens that hardly receive antibiotics in the developing countries can serve as important means of understanding the human/animal pathogens drug resistance interactions in the zone. Three hundred and fifty E. coli isolates, comprising 133 from urban and 217 from rural sites in Imo state, Nigeria, were screened for anti-microbial resistance profile against 10 antibiotics using the disc diffusion method. Overall percentage anti-microbial resistance of the isolates against cotrimoxazole, ampicillin, nalidixic acid, chloramphenicol and nitrofurantoin (72–92%) were very high. The organisms were highly sensitive to other antibiotics, especially gentamicin and ciprofloxacin. The 59.5% overall mean percentage resistance recorded at the urban area was significantly higher than the 46.8% recorded at the rural area (p<0.05). With the exception of the figures for cotrimoxazole and ampicillin, resistance values obtained against the other antibiotics at the urban sites were statistically higher than those obtained at the rural sites (p<0.05). Zero resistance was recorded against the fluoroquinolones, norfloxacin and ciprofloxacin at all the rural sites except at Enyiogwugwu where a 28.6% resistance was obtained against norfloxacin. Since free-range chickens rarely receive antibiotic medication, it is concluded that the highly resistant E. coli organisms isolated from them may be reflecting consequences of human drug use in the study area
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