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Sci Total Environ. 2010 Aug 1;408(17):3519-22. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.05.005. Epub 2010 May 31.

First insights into antimicrobial resistance among faecal Escherichia coli isolates from small wild mammals in rural areas.

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Institute of Microbiology and Epizootics, Veterinary Faculty, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Philippstrasse 13, 10115 Berlin, Germany.


Wild rodents can be carriers of antimicrobial resistant Escherichia coli. As rodents are known to be involved in the transmission of bacteria of human and animal health concern, they could likewise contribute to the dissemination of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in the environment. The aim of this study was therefore to get first insights into the antimicrobial resistance status among E. coli isolated from wild small mammals in rural areas. We tested 188 faecal isolates from eight rodent and one shrew species originating from Germany. Preselected resistant isolates were screened by minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) testing or agar diffusion test and subsequent PCR analysis of resistance genes. The prevalence of antimicrobial resistant isolates was low with only 5.5% of the isolates exhibiting resistant phenotypes against at least one antimicrobial compound including beta-lactams, tetracyclines, aminoglycosides and sulfonamides. These results suggest a minor role of wild rodents from rural areas in the cycle of transmission and spread of antimicrobial resistant E. coli into the environment. Nevertheless E. coli with multiple antimicrobial resistances were significantly more often detected in wildlife rodents originating from areas with high livestock density suggesting a possible transmission from livestock to wild rodents.

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