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Comparable High Rates of Extended-Spectrum-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli in Birds of Prey from Germany and Mongolia (PLoS ONE, abstract, edited)

[Source: PLoS ONE, full text: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Research Article

Comparable High Rates of Extended-Spectrum-Beta-Lactamase-Producing Escherichia coli in Birds of Prey from Germany and Mongolia

Sebastian Guenther, Katja Aschenbrenner, Ivonne Stamm, Astrid Bethe, Torsten Semmler, Annegret Stubbe, Michael Stubbe, Nyamsuren Batsajkhan, Youri Glupczynski, Lothar H. Wieler, Christa Ewers

Affiliations: [See original page.]



Frequent contact with human waste and liquid manure from intensive livestock breeding, and the increased loads of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that result, are believed to be responsible for the high carriage rates of ESBL-producing E. coli found in birds of prey (raptors) in Central Europe. To test this hypothesis against the influence of avian migration, we initiated a comparative analysis of faecal samples from wild birds found in Saxony-Anhalt in Germany and the Gobi-Desert in Mongolia, regions of dissimilar human and livestock population characteristics and agricultural practices. We sampled a total of 281 wild birds, mostly raptors with primarily north-to-south migration routes. We determined antimicrobial resistance, focusing on ESBL production, and unravelled the phylogenetic and clonal relatedness of identified ESBL-producing E. coli isolates using multi-locus sequence typing (MLST) and macrorestriction analyses. Surprisingly, the overall carriage rates (approximately 5%) and the proportion of ESBL-producers among E. coli (Germany: 13.8%, Mongolia: 10.8%) were similar in both regions. Whereas blaCTX-M-1 predominated among German isolates (100%), blaCTX-M-9 was the most prevalent in Mongolian isolates (75%). We identified sequence types (STs) that are well known in human and veterinary clinical ESBL-producing E. coli (ST12, ST117, ST167, ST648) and observed clonal relatedness between a Mongolian avian ESBL-E. coli (ST167) and a clinical isolate of the same ST that originated in a hospitalised patient in Europe. Our data suggest the influence of avian migratory species in the transmission of ESBL-producing E. coli and challenge the prevailing assumption that reducing human influence alone invariably leads to lower rates of antimicrobial resistance.


Citation: Guenther S, Aschenbrenner K, Stamm I, Bethe A, Semmler T, et al. (2012) Comparable High Rates of Extended-Spectrum-Beta-Lactamase-Produci​ngEscherichia coli in Birds of Prey from Germany and Mongolia. PLoS ONE 7(12): e53039. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053039

Editor: Christopher James Johnson, USGS National Wildlife Health Center, United States of America

Received: August 16, 2012; Accepted: November 22, 2012; Published: December 31, 2012

Copyright: © 2012 Guenther et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This work was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) and Research Network Zoonosis (FBI-Zoo, Grant no. 01KI1012A) and the German Research Foundation (DFG) funded Indo-German Research Training Group (Grant GRK1673). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors herein confirm that the affiliation of one author (IS) to the Vet Med Labor GmbH does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

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