Occurrence and Characteristics of ESBL and Carbapenemase Producing Escherichia coli from Wild and Feral Birds in Greece

in: Microorganisms (2022)
Athanasakopoulou, Zoi; Diezel, Celia; Braun, Sascha D.; Sofia, Marina; Giannakopoulos, Alexios; Monecke, Stefan; Gary, Dominik; Chatzopoulos, Dimitris C.; Spyrou, Vassiliki; Petinaki, Efthymia; Ehricht, Ralf; Billinis, Charalambos; Krähmer, Domenique; Touloudi, Antonia; Birtsas, Periklis; Palli, Matina; Georgakopoulos, Giorgos
Wild and feral birds are known to be involved in the maintenance and dissemination of clinically-important antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, such as extended-spectrum _-lactamase (ESBL) and carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae. The aim of our study was to evaluate the presence of ESBL- and carbapenemase-producing Escherichia coli among wild and feral birds from Greece and to describe their antimicrobial resistance characteristics. In this context, fecal samples of 362 birds were collected and cultured. Subsequently, the antimicrobial resistance pheno- and genotype of all the obtained E. coli isolates were determined. A total of 12 multidrug-resistant (MDR), ESBL-producing E. coli were recovered from eight different wild bird species. Eleven of these isolates carried a blaCTX-M-1 group gene alone or in combination with blaTEM and one carried only blaTEM. AmpC, fluoroquinolone, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, aminoglycoside and macrolide resistance genes were also detected. Additionally, one carbapenemase-producing E. coli was identified, harboring blaNDM along with a combination of additional resistance genes. This report describes the occurrence of ESBL- and carbapenemase-producing E. coli among wild avian species in Greece, emphasizing the importance of incorporating wild birds in the assessment of AMR circulation in non-clinical settings.

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