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- PublicationAntimicrobial Resistance in Wildlife: Implications for Public HealthThe emergence and spread of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria in natural environments is a major concern with serious implications for human and animal health. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of AMR Escherichia coli (E. coli) in wild birds and mammalian species. Thirty faecal samples were collected from each of the following wildlife species: herring gulls (Larus argentatus), black-headed gulls (Larus ridibundus), lesser black-back gulls (Larus fuscus), hybrid deer species (Cervus elaphus x Cervus nippon) and twenty-six from starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). A total of 115 E. coli isolates were isolated from 81 of 146 samples. Confirmed E. coli isolates were tested for their susceptibility to seven antimicrobial agents by disc diffusion. In total, 5.4% (8/146) of samples exhibited multidrug-resistant phenotypes. The phylogenetic group and AMR-encoding genes of all multidrug resistance isolates were determined by PCR. Tetracycline-, ampicillin- and streptomycin-resistant isolates were the most common resistant phenotypes. The following genes were identified in E. coli: blaTEM, strA, tet(A) and tet(B). Plasmids were identified in all samples that exhibited multidrug-resistant phenotypes. This study indicates that wild birds and mammals may function as important host reservoirs and potential vectors for the spread of resistant bacteria and genetic determinants of AMR.
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