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J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2007 May;46(3):21-3.

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) harbor multiantibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.


Whether wild-caught animals used for biomedical research carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria is not well studied. Thirteen- lined ground squirrels (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus) are small mammals used to study hibernation. These animals are captured from the wild or are born in laboratory animal facilities to wild-caught mothers. Because microorganisms harbored by 13-lined ground squirrels may be pathogenic to their caretakers and other laboratory animals, learning more about antibiotic resistance in these animals could be useful. In this study, tetracycline- and chloramphenicol-resistant Morganella morganii and multidrug resistant Stenotrophomonas maltophilia were isolated from the ceca of four 13-lined ground squirrels. These findings support further study of antibiotic-resistant bacterial populations in wild-caught mammals used as laboratory models.

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