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Presence of Broad-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae in Zoo Mammals

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Broad-spectrum beta-lactamase (BSBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae impose public health threats. With increased popularity of zoos, exotic animals are brought in close proximity of humans, making them important BSBL reservoirs. However, not much is known on the presence of BSBLs in zoos in Western Europe. Fecal carriage of BSBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae was investigated in 38 zoo mammals from two Belgian zoos. Presence of bla-genes was investigated using PCR, followed by whole-genome sequencing and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy to cluster acquired resistance encoding genes and clonality of BSBL-producing isolates. Thirty-five putatively ceftiofur-resistant isolates were obtained from 52.6% of the zoo mammals. Most isolates were identified as E. coli (25/35), of which 64.0% showed multidrug resistance (MDR). Most frequently detected bla-genes were CTX-M-1 (17/25) and TEM-1 (4/25). Phylogenetic trees confirmed clustering of almost all E. coli isolates obtained from the same animal species. Clustering of five isolates from an Amur tiger, an Amur leopard, and a spectacled bear was observed in Zoo 1, as well as for five isolates from a spotted hyena and an African lion in Zoo 2. This might indicate clonal expansion of an E. coli strain in both zoos. In conclusion, MDR BSBL-producing bacteria were shown to be present in the fecal microbiota of zoo mammals in two zoos in Belgium. Further research is necessary to investigate if these bacteria pose zoonotic and health risks.
Journal: Microorganisms
Issue: 4
Volume: 9
Publication year:2021